A Look Back: How Tim Duncan Set the Career Playoff Double-Double Record
Over the course of his illustrious, 17-year career, Tim Duncan has been to the playoffs 16 times. In those 16 playoff appearances, Duncan has played in 231 games (all starts), scored 4,950 points, grabbed 2,707 rebounds, dished out 720 assists, blocked 515 shots, stolen the ball 155 times and, most importantly, won 4 championships.
With his 18 points and 15 rebounds in Game 2 on Sunday night, Duncan recorded his 157th career playoff double-double. While this 18 and 15 seems like nothing more than a ho-hum performance when compared to the ridiculous career playoff totals I outlined above, this particular ho-hum performance was special because it tied Duncan with Earvin "Magic" Johnson for the all-time record for career playoff double-doubles.
Although Magic was able to accomplish this feat in an impressively low 12 career playoff appearances, Duncan's longevity and consistency is equally as impressive. Over the course of his career, the Big Fundamental has never averaged less than 32 minutes per game in the playoffs, and has only averaged less than 45% shooting once (44.9% in 2008). Duncan's also only had a player efficiency rating less than 20 twice, missing just 5 of the Spurs' 236 playoff games during his career (4 of which came in 2000 when Duncan missed the Spurs' only playoff series with torn cartilage in his knee).
Duncan's impressive career playoff numbers don't end there. The Spurs' forward also averaged more than 20 points per game 10 times, at least 10 rebounds 11 times, a 100-plus offensive rating 15 times, a defensive rating of 100 or less 9 times, and a player efficiency rating of 20 or more 14 times, including a pair of seasons with a PER of more than 30. Additionally, Duncan averaged a double-double 11 times, posted 10 or more double-doubles 7 different times and has four career postseason triple-doubles.
Those numbers are straight-up absurd!
While accumulating his record 157 career playoff double-doubles, Duncan has positioned himself in the top 10 for a number of records for career playoff totals. The Big Fundamental currently finds himself sitting in fifth in career postseason points, fourth in games played, second in minutes played, third in rebounds, second in offensive rebounds, seventh in PER and first in blocked shots. In addition to all of the accomplishments I just mentioned, the man who many consider to be the greatest power forward of all time is second in career playoff win shares, a stat which is an estimate of how many wins an individual player contributed to his team.
The list of top 10 players in career postseason win shares is loaded with the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood. Other than Duncan, this list includes six Hall-of-Famers (Jordan, Kareem, Magic, Wilt, Russell and West), one soon to be Hall-of-Fame inductee (Shaq) and just two other active players - Kobe Bryant and LeBron James - both of whom will be in the Hall of Fame as soon as they are eligible. None of these players have more career postseason double-doubles than Timmy D.
After looking at his career postseason stats and digging into his all-time standing, it's hard to believe that Duncan still has an opportunity to add to his already outrageous career playoff totals. But the Big Fundamental still has at least three more games to play this season, and retirement doesn't seem to be imminent. So over the next three games, take a moment or two to appreciate Duncan for just how good he truly is, because you are witnessing pure greatness and, unfortunately, it won't last forever.