Tim Duncan played 19 seasons with the Spurs. This would have been his twentieth. But it was not meant to be. Duncan decided to retire this summer and leave the Spurs without a 7 foot #1 overall pick for the first time since 1988 (remember, before Duncan there was David Robinson). Can the Spurs survive without him?
Despite his advanced age, Duncan was still productive and helped contribute to the Spurs 67 win season. San Antonio didn’t leave his spot vacant however. They’re a smart organization and brought in 6x All-Star Pau Gasol. This is still an incredibly deep team and now it’s one led by Kawhi Leonard, who just keeps getting better.
The Warriors aren’t going to walk to NBA Finals. The Spurs are still a formidable opponent, as the Warriors saw when they got smacked down by them on opening night. But I still think they’ll miss Duncan and maybe they’ll miss him most when it matters the most, in the playoffs. For now, there’s no reason not to think of them as a contender.