HOUSTON – The 2013 NBA All-Star game marked the 14th time San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan was among the best-of-the-best in the NBA. Not bad for a player who has played 15 seasons in the NBA who has shown that a fundamental grasp of the game and consistency, will earn you a place among the best in this league.
However, many wonder if this past All-Star weekend in Houston might have been the last time Duncan would be an All-Star. He is nearing the end of his NBA career, and with up-and-coming big men in the league, perhaps there just won't be a spot on the West roster for Duncan in the future.
But taking a look at Duncan's production this season, it is tough to say if this really was his last time at the annual NBA event. He is once again showing no signs of slowing down and it is this consistency that Golden State Warriors' David Lee has noticed and is hoping this won't be the last time Duncan is playing for the Western Conference All-Stars.
"I told KG (Kevin Garnett) and Tim, I dont understand how it could be their last game,"said Lee. "As long as they're still in the league, they're still so productive. Unless they boycott it, I am not sure this is going to be their last."
Who can blame Lee for feeling this way? This season, Duncan is currently averaging 16.7 points, 2.7 blocks, 9.6 rebounds and shooting 49% from the field. And at age 36, if he keeps this consistency and productivity next season, it be hard not to see Duncan in New Orleans for the All-Star Game.
But despite Duncan's stats, and accolades, for Lee it is Duncan's longevity that has earned his respect and admiration.
"I have a lot of respect for consistency in the league. With as talented as Tim and KG and Kobe (Bryant) and these guys are, you figure every single year it's just 'Oh, he's an All-Star,'" said Lee.
Lee continued, "Injuries happen, different things happen, you get older but those guys have done it so long, that it commands a lot of respect in my book."
However, it goes beyond respect for Lee when it comes to Duncan's legacy. Lee has been the student, watching Duncan and how he carries himself professionally on and off the court and what he has to do to reach the level Duncan has reached.
"I think the biggest thing that a player can do is just sit back and listen and watch because there's a certain level of professionalism that most of these guys have. Especially the veterans," said Lee. "It kind of reminds me of how focused I need to be on a daily basis. It is a great example those guys have set."
Not seeing Duncan at an All-Star game in the future is becoming more of a reality. He has one more season under contract and a player's option in 2014-15. But as we are seeing this season, Duncan is not showing any signs of slowing and which lend Lee to think Duncan and the rest of the NBA veteran All-Stars won't be going out quietly.
"They're definitely not going out quietly. They're still playing great."