The Spurs managed to extend their incredible playoff streak to 22 consecutive appearances last season despite having to trade Kawhi Leonard in the offseason and losing starting point guard Dejounte Murray to injury.
It’s a testament to the organization’s stability, led by head coach Gregg Popovich, but also the way players in the organization seem to always be ready to step up and fill in the gaps. They still had a pair of All-Star caliber players in DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, but it was the first season without a member of their long-time championship core in place and they still had the same resolve to make it to the postseason.
Luckily for the Spurs, that gap will only last one season as the greatest Spur of all-time is returning to the bench in San Antonio as an assistant coach. The team announced Tim Duncan will be on the bench alongside Pop once again this season, along with Will Hardy, as they fill out their coaching roster.
Duncan, of course, won five titles in San Antonio and was the most dominant power forward of his era. Pop, in typical fashion, had a pretty tremendous quote in the release announcing the news officially.
“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor,” said Popovich.
Duncan has not strayed far from his Spurs roots since retiring, as he’s been a regular fixture at their practice facility since retiring in 2016, helping out young players with their skill work and offering sage advice. Now he’ll do so in an official capacity, which will be a welcome sight to Spurs fans.