As the Tim Duncan era is nearing the end, staff-writers Robby Lim and Jason Rogers will be having a debate on which current San Antonio Spurs player will most likely be the one to carry the torch for the team post Duncan era. Yesterday, Robby Lim made the case for DeJuan Blair. Up next is Jason Rogers.
With Tim Duncan inching toward retirement, San Antonio Spurs fans are wondering who might take the torch next. Spurs fans can remember watching David Robinson take a backseat to his protege, Duncan, in an effort to win the first championship for what became one of the best professional sports franchises of the following decade.
Who's next? Who will be Duncan's.....Duncan?
Look no further than George Hill.
His rate of improvement in his first two seasons with the Spurs is well publicized, but let's review. He went from 5.7 points per game in 2008-2009 to 12.4 in 2009-2010 - more than a 100% increase. His shooting percentage rose from 40% to 48% on an increase in minutes from only 16 to over 29. On top of all of this, he is a 40% three-point shooter and, though most effective as a shooting guard, he has shown that he is able to run the offense as a point guard as evidenced by his starting role during the Parker injury. With a shift of that magnitude from his first season to his second, who can predict a limit to his capabilities.
In the mold of those before him in Duncan and Robinson, he is unselfish and respected by his coaches and teammates. During the 2010 playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Manu Ginobili said of Hill, "He's become very reliable. He's played the most minutes for us because he's been unbelievable."
Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich has quite famously called Hill his "favorite player" on more than one occasion and his defensive abilities has garnered Hill the responsibility of guarding the best player on the court on any given night.
With a roster that includes an aging Ginobili, a star guard in Tony Parker that may not be with the team when his contract is up next season, a promising, but inconsistent, DeJuan Blair and a few solid role players, it is hard to see how the torch could be passed to any other than Hill. The only question is will be be ready to run with it?
Alright Spurs fans, time for you to chime in. Robby made the case for Blair and you just read Jason's case for Hill. Who else could possibly take the reigns after Duncan leaves or are one of these two players more than likely to be the one who carries the torch?