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LeBron calls Duncan “most consistent, most dominant” player of last 15 years

Jun 6, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

Tim Duncan AP

When you talk about the greatest player of his generation, the voting public pretty much always chooses Kobe Bryant over Tim Duncan.

LeBron James doesn’t really see it that way.

During his media session on Wednesday LeBron said Duncan has to be considered on top of that list.

“Probably one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball,” he said of Duncan. “If I just look at the last 15 years, he’s probably been the most consistent, most dominant player that we’ve had as far as 15 years all together. He’s won four titles, multiple All Stars, MVP, and so on and so on.

“I think He doesn’t get a lot of recognition because he’s not flashy like a lot of guys are. He’s not jumping over people and high flying and doing the things that attracts people to the game. But I think true basketball, true IQ people, players know how great he is. What else can you say?”

Kobe will use that as fuel in his recovery. Because he’s Kobe.

However LeBron is right. Not necessarily about best of the generation — that is at least a close discussion — but that Duncan gets overshadowed because he is just solid. While we watched Kobe adapt his game because he’s had to as his athleticism faded, Duncan’s game was always about smart choices and fundamentals — and 15-foot bank shots don’t make the SportsCenter highlights. But it counts the same as a dunk, two points.

Because of his game it seems like Duncan hasn’t aged. He hits the same shots, makes the same plays at age 37 that he did at 31 back in 2007 when they won their last title. He seems timeless.

And we need to do a better job appreciating that.

  1. jbeagles23 - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    You can feel the respect these two teams have for each other. I feel if the refs screwed up in anyway both teams would call them out

    • mannyfresh209 - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      No doubt. This is one of the best Finals matchups I can remember for some time. I’m beyond excited for it. Last year I figured OKC would lose due to lack of experience. This year, both teams come highly experienced, highly talented, highly intelligent, highly classy and highly motivated.

      Should be GREAT

  2. bjerkrulez - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Very well said, pistolpete0903

    And that is why Duncan’s Achilles is healthier since he rarely jumps lol :)

  3. reasonablemindsays - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Duncan is not just the greatest player of the generation. He’s the 4th greatest player in the history of the game.

    Here’s a list of players with the top win shares in the playoffs throughout their careers (according to basketball reference):

    1. MJ
    2. Kareem
    3. Magic
    4. Duncan
    5. Wilt
    6. Shaq
    7. LeBron
    8. Kobe
    9. Russell
    10. Dr. J

    (Bird falls at #12 and Hakeem at #15)

    • mannyfresh209 - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      I can work with that list. Pretty solid, sir.

    • jacksonkane - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      Shaq was one of the most dominant players of all time if you look at a 3-5 year stretch. I don’t feel he had the overall career however to best many others.

      Also, at this point in time, Kobe is better than Lebron. MVPs aside, Kobe has 5 rings versus 1. Lebron has a much greater history of choking and fading in the fourth. He obviously broke that trend last year, but that’s one time.

      • bjerkrulez - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:26 PM

        I beg to disagree with that notion because Lebron’s era feel within the hype of the social media, which was very very minimal during Kobe’s early years.

        Try typing ‘kobe chokes’ in youtube and you’ll get tons of results. The problem nowadays is that a mere miss out from a player can be magnified uncontrollably unlike before when you just watch the news and that’s it.

        5 ring vs.1 for Lebron doesn’t make Kobe a better player. If you will follow that logic, then that means Robert Horry is better than Kobe and Jordan since he has 7 rings

        I’m sure am not a Lebron fan but with the speed/passing skills/power that comes with that 6’9 frame? I honestly think it is unfair hahaha… He would probably the first of his kind if you ask me

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 6, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      Switch Bird and Duncan and you’ve got a list.

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    If you count defense equally with offense (and why wouldn’t you?), then it isn’t even a discussion. Tim Duncan has been so dominant on the boards and defensively that Spurs games always seemed unwatchable. That is, of course, because fans are always watching the ball/offense. I was one of those guys; I hated the Spurs and now I regret it. Duncan isn’t what he was once in terms of paint protection, but I’ll be watching his help defense carefully in the finals. If he can discourage Wade & LBJ from driving like Hibbert did then the Spurs have a shot.

    PS Kobe has the perfect personality & mentality for a superstar basketball player. That’s why everybody picks him. In reality his offense is prolific but inefficient and his defense ranged from average to non-existent throughout his career. TD is better.

    • adfranco - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Lol. Average to non-existent defense? I guess that’s why he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team 9 times and 2nd team 3 times. Yes, Kobe’s defense dropped this past season, but don’t say that he was just average in that area.

  5. bjerkrulez - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    You can really tell in this thread if a comment came from a Kobe fan lmao

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 6, 2013 at 9:05 PM

      Because who the best player is IS pure fact and not opinion. Yeah, right.

  6. jacksonkane - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    It’s funny to see people reverse course and say that Tim Duncan had great talent around him. Complete and utter BS. The Spurs are a system team, build around TD.

    While Tony Parker has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate this year, he has been a fairly inconsistent player over his career. For at least the first half, he was turnover-prone and has no range.

    Ginobili has moments of brilliance (insert Charles Barkley yelling “GI-NO-BI-LI”), but he is wildly unreliable.

    Robinson was a class act and true talent, but TD played with him in the tail end of his career. For their second championship, Robinson barely had playing time.

    So basically the Spurs are a classic inside-out team, which rely on Duncan drawing the defense and guards slashing / hitting open 3s. Defensively, Duncan has always been the central piece of the puzzle. His ability to shut down other big men is phenomenal.

    A small market team that has made the playoff every year, without a single major free agent signing… ever?! That’s insane. Sjax, Jefferson, Horry, Kerr were all pieces other teams didn’t want and they made them work as great role players.

  7. patfic15 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Lebron is correct. Duncan isn’t a shooting guard, flashy type, loud mouth such as Kobe. He’s also been free from any legal issues. We take his greatness for granted. Give me Duncan anyday .

  8. jbeagles23 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    In no way is Kobe better than lebron. Kobe road shaq. Then cried til he got pay. Look at Kobe’s shooting numbers. He would put up 15 shots in the fourth. Get 10 points and you see him as clutch lol

  9. lrical - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Can’t dunk forever

  10. bjerkrulez - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    And did I mention that TD is 37 and he still has his achilles in tact? lmao

    Players like him are very very very rare, ones who are willing to take a step back for the sake of success

    Only a handful of players are humble enough to be a good person on and off the court, Duncan, Grant Hill, Charles Barkley (yes you read it right, because he speaks his mind), and probably Durant, who in his young mind, is humble but a heck of a player

  11. jayrh08 - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    i guess lebron just can’t comprehend the skill/mentality it takes to play kobes game for as long as he has

  12. nightster71 - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    This short clip says it all. Tim isa class act. In an age when basketball players negotiate obscene contact negotiations Tim volunteered to takea pay cut to keep his team intact. He is the least paid of the Spurs big 3 even though he’s been there the longest. 3

  13. nightster71 - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM

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