Out the door goes Jason Kidd, the last of his kind. And now on approach to the farewell door same door is Tim Duncan, also without an heir apparent.

Duncan is a rarity in 21st century basketball, a highly skilled big man with impeccable footwork and a variety of low-post offensive moves who is content to be precisely that.

He is, in short, a 6-foot-11 player with game.

He's also a major reason the San Antonio Spurs are in the NBA Finals and quite capable of knocking off the Miami Heat.

But Duncan is 37, near the end of his career. And a glance around the game of basketball reveals the line of those willing and able to grab the torch is very short. Though there are plenty of athletes 6-10 and taller, in all ages and ethnicities, none cares to emulate Duncan's smart and ruthlessly efficient offensive repertoire.

San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) celebrates a play against the Golden State Warriors late in the second quarter for Game 6 of the Western
San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan (21) celebrates a play against the Golden State Warriors late in the second quarter for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals at Oracle Arena on Thursday, May 16, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

More to the point, few even try.

Sometime between discovering a basketball and getting through high school, so many tall young athletes lose interest in living on the low block. So, naturally, they do not nurture such fundamental moves as bank shots or hook shots, much less establish the footwork required to create easy shots near the hoop.

There are those who, perhaps influenced by highlight shows, fixate on poster-worthy dunks. And there are those who, likely entranced by the Jordan/Kobe/LeBron era, become preoccupied with "expanding their games," a euphemism for ball-handling and jumpers facing the basket.

With youngsters fantasizing less about championship rings than getting their names on a shoe, Duncan's game emphasizes the opposite approach. It does not appeal to the folks who congregate outside sporting goods stores awaiting the newest release.

The result is an NBA in which the majority of big men have little to offer on offense beyond a simple dunk. Remarkable athletes, yes, but mostly stiffs on the offensive end.

Does Dwight Howard, conceivably the best big man in the league, have an offensive arsenal? No. Does Tyson Chandler? Not really. Blake Griffin? Please.

You won't find two more athletic 7-footers than JaVale McGee and DeAndre Jordan. Each is a superior specimen to Duncan, no matter his age. Each runs like a deer, jumps like a kangaroo and . . . shoots like a guppy. As the Clippers were bounced out of the playoffs in six, Jordan -- who was chased by the Warriors before the Clips handed him a four-year, $43 million contract -- averaged 3.7 points per game.

It's enough to make Hakeem Olajuwon, a two-time NBA champ, weep.

Duncan, chasing his fifth ring, probably shrugs.

Don't get me wrong. Duncan is not the only big man who uses strength and finesse to work the paint. Indiana's 7-2 Roy Hibbert is a vastly inferior athlete to McGee or Jordan but more effective because he gets it. So does Utah's Al Jefferson and, to a degree, Atlanta's Al Horford and Brooklyn's Brook Lopez.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol make the effort in Memphis, though they were neutralized by Duncan and teammate Tiago Splitter in the Western Conference finals.

But none of these guys can get 30 when his team absolutely has to have 30. Moreover, none is the franchise player for a team built to contend for the duration of his career.

Duncan has been that guy in San Antonio. He grabbed the torch from Olajuwon, who grabbed it from Moses Malone and Kevin McHale, who grabbed it from Bill Walton, who grabbed it from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That's six players, 18 championship rings and 100 ways to beat you on the block.

Following the examples of such predecessors as Walt Bellamy and Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell and Bob Pettit and George Mikan, Kareem fashioned his offensive game around the advantage presented by being 7-foot-2. Thus was born the Sky Hook.

And now that shot is extinct, unseen since Kareem retired in 1989. He'll teach it to those who are interested. His most recent student: female star Brittney Griner.

Olajuwon instructs those willing to mimic his footwork. But few go to Houston to learn Hakeem's "Dream Shake," which undressed the likes of Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O'Neal.

There are those who say the game has changed when in truth it's the players who have changed. Teams still crave a low-post threat. They can't seem to find one.

The Spurs still have their guy, though he's aging and dragging his left leg. But he's a jewel, still wonderful to watch.

Do not be surprised if Duncan and the Spurs find a way to beat the Miami Heat, delivering one last mighty roar from an endangered beast.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/1montepoole.