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Commentary: Tim Duncan has already been a Spurs coach for a while

The Spurs' announcement formalizes something that had been going on unofficially for years.

SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan has been coaching for a while now, just not officially; he was not getting paid to do it. But that officially changed Monday. He’s been hired as an assistant coach. The player, the foundation of that championship run is actually returning to the bench! 

We wish it was as a player, of course, but you can’t ask for too much in this life. Just having him back in the building full time on game nights is just awesome! 

I’ve been to countless Spurs practices where the legendary big man has actually been working out against Lamarcus Aldridge. He’s always standing around at the end of practice, at least when media cameras are allowed in the door, talking with different players about, we assume, basketball. I can’t tell you the ‘win-win’ this is for Spurs big men. It’s amazing enough to have The Big Fundamental imparting his Hall Of Fame knowledge around practice settings. But to have him sitting on the bench during games? Well, you just can’t measure that.

Tim is arguably the greatest big man to play the game, ever. And considering the other greats in the history of pro basketball? Being at the top of that list is historical in every way.

My favorite Duncan story, moment is the Sports Illustrated article years ago that Duncan was coaching a young opponent, during an NBA game, about the proper way to defend number 21. That’s how amazing of a true professional he clearly is. He knew he was going to win that battle, but still took time to pass along some X’s and O’s to another player.

If you watch enough NBA games, you’ll hear the following: Broadcasters will, more often than you think, point out the great work of assistant coaches. You think that’s gonna happen more than a few times this coming season with the Spurs? Not to state the very obvious, but yes. Tim will have Tim things to say during pregame warmups, prior to tip off, in the half time locker room, to start the third quarter, and most importantly, in what they call ‘winning time:’ that final five minutes of the fourth.

Pop has always held Duncan in the highest of regard. I’m gonna go throw my reputation out there and say that Timmy D will probably have more of a voice than anybody realizes. You think Pop would have FIVE titles without Tim? Tim just might have FIVE titles had he played elsewhere. What he has to say will be heard, and he’ll be given the time, undoubtedly, to say more than most, assistants.

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