It seems every season fantasy owners roll through their fantasy hoops draft, and then they get to that spot. Where the veteran players are at the top of the queue, and drafters contemplate whether or not they want to take a shot on one of the older guys. Every season, there’s Tim Duncan, and owners continue to pass on him, thinking that he doesn’t have much left in the tank.
Every season, they are wrong.
Duncan has been so consistently efficient over the last few seasons, and fantasy owners who continually passed on him have been regretting it. However, Duncan hasn’t played an 80-game season since 2006, and he has already dealt with minor injuries in 2013. This could possibly be the year that Duncan doesn’t live up to his fantasy draft pick. If I owned Duncan, I would actually think about dealing him to another team, regardless of the name value.
Duncan has been struggling a bit as of late. Over his last four games, the Spurs power forward is averaging a measly 9.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He is shooting a poor 29% from the field during that span. On the season, Duncan is averaging 11.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest, all while logging less than 30 minutes per game. It’s hard to count out the likes of Duncan, but he is most certainly on the decline of his career. He’s already missed a few games this season due to a chest related injury, and knowing who is head coach is, Duncan will likely sit out a handful of games this season.
We saw it last season when head coach Greg Popovich would rest his starters during back-to-back games, or during stretches where the Spurs would play a handful of games. It’s already happened this season with Duncan, and considering the 11-1 Spurs are arguably the best team in basketball, playoffs will most certainly be in their future. I’m sure we will see Popovich noticeably rest Duncan down the stretch, which will leave a pretty significant hole in fantasy owners’ lineups. It may be difficult to trade a guy of Duncan’s caliber, but it may be necessary if you can add more volume and depth to your lineup. Don’t get me wrong, Duncan will still be efficient and the fantasy numbers will be there. However, if you are expecting the numbers from the 2012-13 season, you may be highly disappointed. After a trip to the NBA finals, as well as consecutive playoff appearances, I’m sure Duncan will find himself resting quite a bit this season.
Fantasy owners should try to use his massive name value to get a strong return while they can.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.