No doubt: Duncan is one of the all-time greats
(Sports Network) – Tim Duncan’s resume is impressive enough to place him in
the class of the elite players to ever play in the NBA. In fact, putting him
in the same sentence as Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Earvin
“Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird is also appropriate.
Originally selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the first overall pick in
the 1997 draft, Duncan’s career has simply been awesome. He has already led
his club to three championships, played in nine All-Star Games, been co-MVP of
the All-Star Game, won NBA MVP twice, collected three NBA Finals MVP awards
and has been on numerous All-NBA Teams and All-Defensive Teams. The Wake
Forest product was also a member of the bonze-medal winning U.S. Olympic Team
To say the 31-year-old Duncan has had an incredible career would be a gross
understatement. The statistics and the facts don’t lie. He has played in 746
regular-season contests and has career averages of 21.8 points, 11.9 rebounds,
3.2 assists, 2.4 blocks and has shot over 50 percent from the floor.
Entering the 2007 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Duncan has
participated in 134 postseason games. The 6-11 power forward has posted 23.9
points, 12.6 boards, 3.5 assists and 2.8 blocks in the playoffs.
The numbers, awards and championships are all present on Duncan’s bio. Former
NBA great Karl Malone, who has been mentioned by some as the greatest power
forward to play the game, is not even in Duncan’s class. Malone played in
plenty of All-Star Games, did win NBA MVP twice, teamed with John Stockton to
lead Utah to two finals appearances and played in another as a member of the
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in 2004. While Malone has a very
impressive resume, he wasn’t able to get his team over the hump and retired
without ever winning an NBA title.
Duncan picked up his first two rings (1999, 2003) alongside center David
Robinson. The pair teamed to give the Spurs a dominant duo down low. One of
the great centers to play in the league, Robinson announced prior to the
2002-03 campaign that he would end his 14-year career after the season.
Even though Robinson was a force during San Antonio’s first championship run
and was still a factor in 2003, it was Duncan who was the leader and go-to guy
on both squads. Duncan led the team in scoring and rebounding both seasons and
was the player who finally got the Spurs over the hump.
In 2004-05, All-Star point guard Tony Parker started to come on and earn the
attention of the rest of the league. Manu Ginobili had a breakout campaign and
showed that he was ready to make a splash. But, once again it was Duncan who
shined when the spotlight was on and delivered in the clutch to help the Spurs
knock off the Eastern Conference’s Detroit Pistons in a tough, seven-game
series in the finals.
With the victory over Detroit, the San Antonio franchise and Duncan earned
their third championship. When the Spurs have needed a defensive stop, two
points or a big win, it’s been Duncan who has stepped up and delivered in the
What’s even more scary about Duncan is that he is in the prime of his career
and has shown no signs of slowing down. How many more championships will this
guy win? What about All-Star Games and the other accolades that come along
with being one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneakers.
Is Duncan the best power forward to ever play in the NBA?
Duncan is a winner! Plain and simple. Oh and let’s not forget, he is also one
of the greatest — regardless of position — to ever play on the hardwood
courts of the NBA.