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Tim Duncan, the Celtic-that-never-was, returns to San Antonio as Assistant Coach

It had to be. Tim Duncan, alias The Big Fundamental, eventually just had to land in the NBA coaching ranks at some point. Returning to San Antonio, where he played for 19 seasons, just seems natural - as does Gregg Popovich's comment on Duncan's return.


It was Shaquille O'Neal that gave Tim his nickname, The Big Fundamental. Shaq compared Duncan to former Celtic, Larry Bird, as a player that was not terribly athletic, but could destroy you with the basics - the fundamentals. Duncan averaged 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG and 2.2 BPG, and he used the glass much like another former Celtic, Sam Jones. Tim was a 5-time Champion, 3-time Finals MVP and 2-time NBA MVP.

Could he shoot 3-pointers? Nope! Over 19 seasons, he hit only 30 of 168 attempts. Free throws? A career 70%. But everywhere else, he was absolutely solid. He is a great addition to the Spurs' coaching staff.

And lest we forget, the much-despised Rick Pitino was salivating over grabbing Duncan with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft. The problem was that Boston's pick fell to the #3 spot, where they took Chauncey Billups, with Pitino sending Chauncey off to Canada via trade after only 51 games in Billups' rookie season. I apologize! I still need to vent about Pitino's horrid tenure in Bean Town.

Accolades to Duncan, Popovich and the Spurs. I await forthcoming comments from Gregg, The King of the Quip. They should make for a great coaching pair.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and Facebook

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