San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan continued his climb up the NBA's all-time scoring list Tuesday when he passed Boston Celtics great John Havlicek for 14th place with a bucket against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The NBA confirmed the achievement after Duncan hit a tip-shot in the second quarter off a miss from point guard Tony Parker:
Timmy makes HISTORY on @NBATV! #NBARapidReplay #LACatSAS https://t.co/zR1iItjOkC3/16/2016, 1:22:16 AM
Following Duncan's move into the spot formerly occupied by Havlicek, here's a look at how the league's all-time scoring list shakes out:
|NBA's All-Time Scoring List|
|Source: Basketball-Reference.com, * denotes active player|
Looking ahead, Duncan's ceiling as it pertains to moving up the all-time scoring list would seem to be capped. Not only is he playing the role of ancillary contributor in the shooting and scoring departments, but his time left in the Association is dwindling.
Duncan has a player option worth $5.6 million for next season that he can opt into, per Spotrac, but even if he does return for the 2016-17 campaign, the rate at which he's finding the bottom of the net has plummeted significantly.
The future Hall of Famer just recently surpassed 400 total points for the season, and if we keep that pace in mind, it would appear difficult for Duncan to wind up topping 27,000 career points. Moves past Dominique Wilkins and Oscar Robertson are certainly within reach assuming Duncan returns to the floor, but throttling past Hakeem Olajuwon may prove to be a tall task—especially with the way head coach Gregg Popovich rests his veteran starters.
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But even though Duncan's scoring pace has slowed down considerably throughout the twilight of his career—he's topped 15 points in a game just five times this season—the 39-year-old is still among the most valuable players the Spurs have.
Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Parker may be the headliners, but Duncan is an impactful force who has anchored the Spurs defense all season long with his disciplined stylings as a rim protector.
According to NBA.com's player-tracking data, opponents have shot 7.5 percent worse than the league average within six feet of the basket when Duncan has operated as the primary defender.
So despite the fact his scoring average has dropped below nine points and his shooting percentages are flirting with career-low status, Duncan remains an integral component of a Spurs team looking to unseat the Golden State Warriors.