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Tim Duncan is the greatest gift to coaching

Jun 17, 2014, 5:45 PM EDT


Something crystallized a bit for me in the final minutes of San Antonio’s destruction of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals this year. It’s probably obvious, but I had never thought about it before. Tim Duncan was out there playing his usual fierce basketball though his Spurs were up by 20 or so and had the thing wrapped up. At one point, he went to the floor after a loose ball and another time he raced down the court to join the fast break, all with the game decided. It was so typical Duncan that it’s almost impolite to bring up that surely no other 38-year-old man has ever played so hard for so little reason. That’s just Tim Duncan.

But here’s what I thought: Duncan has never been easy for us to categorize. Mark Jackson has been calling him “the greatest power forward in the history of the NBA,” and that’s certainly fine with me. But is Duncan really a power forward? Maybe. He’s a 7-foot (or so) shot blocker who plays much of the time with his back to the basket. His game doesn’t resemble many of the other great power forwards in NBA history — it seems silly to compare him to Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Dolph Schayes, James Worthy or Bob Petit. If he’s a power forward, doesn’t that make Bill Russell a power forward too?

Look, it’s fine: Duncan might be more power forward than center but, realistically, he doesn’t play ANY position. He plays Tim Duncan. The rest works around him.

There are those who rank Duncan in the top 10 all-time — and that’s fair but unfulfilling. He’s unique. We can sense intrinsically that there’s something that separates him from everyone, including the others in the Top 10. There are those who call him the most fundamental player ever — and that might be true, but it’s boring. And, by the way, it also might not be true, the game has had brilliant fundamental players — Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Kevin McHale, Hakeem Olajuowon, Larry Bird and plenty of others.

More: Spurs owner, Tony Parker expect Tim Duncan will return next season

Anyway, it was while watching those final minutes that this thought occurred to me.

If you are a coach, and you could take any player in NBA history — you would be smart to take Tim Duncan.

I know that sounds like I’m saying Duncan’s the greatest player in NBA history. He’s not, and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that if you are a COACH, he’s the guy you should take. I’m saying that Duncan is the closest thing to a coach’s perfect player that we have ever seen.

Think about all the things you would want from a player if you were an NBA coach. The first thing you would want is talent; that’s obvious. A basketball coach once told me that if he had the choice to pick two teams and the only thing he knew about them was that one team was “coachable” and the other team was “talented”, he would take the talented team every single time. “You take the coachable team,” he told me. “You’ll have a bunch of good kids to have dinner with after you lose.”

That might be true in the larger picture, but Duncan has amazing athletic talent — it sometimes gets overlooked. He’s tall with long arms and yet he can handle the basketball. He has great touch around the basket and he can make the 17-footer pretty consistently. He still can outrun many big men down the floor. And then, there are those amazing hands — Duncan catches everything.

After talent, the next thing you’d want is probably consistency — you want to know the player will show up game after game. Those players who are great one night, lousy the next, they drive coaches crazy. Well, everyone knows Duncan would be first-team All-Consistency. He never changes.

The Dan Patrick Show: Charles Barkley on Tim Duncan’s place in NBA history

Look at his per-36 minute numbers:

As a rookie (1997-98): 19.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 2.5 assists.

In his first championship season (1998-99): 19.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 2.2 assists.

In his first MVP season (2001-02): 22.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 3.3 assists.

In his second MVP season (2002-03): 21.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 3.6 assists.

The year he turned 35 (2011-2012): 19.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 2.9 assists.

This year (2013-2014): 18.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 3.7 assists.

More: Bill Russell ranks Tim Duncan ‘right up there at the top’

That’s just insane — he doesn’t change. He needs more rest as he gets older. He will miss a few more games with nagging injuries. But for 17 years he has been the exact same basketball player; only a handful of players have been so consistent for so long.

So you have talent and you add consistency. And then, on top of that, you throw in all those intangibles that coaches adore. Name any attribute coaches prize, he has it. Works hard? Yes. Is a good teammate? One of the best. Takes criticism? Like no one else. Holds grudges? Nope. Complains in the press? He hardly even talks to the press. Wants special treatment? Nope. Loyal? The guy has stayed in San Antonio his whole career.

What other great player in any sport had all of these?

The Spurs have won 70 percent of their games with Duncan, including playoffs, and have never had a winning percentage lower than 60 percent in a season. So much of this, as everyone knows, is coach Gregg Popovich, who is famous for perfectionism and his ability to adapt to the game. There is no doubt about his greatness. But how possible would Gregg Popovich even be if Tim Duncan wasn’t Tim Duncan? How well would his intense coaching work if at any point Duncan turned and said, “Um, what’s your name again?” How many championships would he have won if Duncan had ever gone to the owner and said, “Look, I’m sorry, I can’t play for this guy.”

This is what stars do. All the time.

But Duncan went the other way. He accepted that Pop knows more basketball than he does. He took the blame when Pop heaped it on him. He listened. He learned. If he was angry, he turned it inward into his play. If he was bitter, he let it go.

The other players saw this. Of course they saw. What could they do when Pop came down on them but follow Duncan’s lead? Popovich is a fantastic coach, the best in the business … but there are a lot of great coaches who have been ignored by stars or worn down by players’ unwillingness. Tim Duncan was the greatest gift a coach could get.

And maybe that’s how we should think of him. It is fun to pretend you are a coach and you can choose an all-time NBA team to coach. Most people would choose Michael Jordan No. 1 — but remember Jordan ran off a coach before he won a championship. LeBron hasn’t always been easy to coach, Magic wasn’t always easy to coach, Kobe wasn’t always easy to coach and neither was Shaq. Wilt was pretty tough. You might take one of those great stars and find yourself fired before the team even started winning.

Don’t misunderstand: There have been other great players who were great to coach too. But I still say that as a coach who gets to choose any player in NBA history, you’d want to take Tim Duncan. There have been players who scored more, rebounded more, intimidated more, who passed out of the double team with more panache. But no one ever made a coach look as good.

PBT Extra: How the Spurs won their fifth NBA title

  1. sportsfan18 - Jun 17, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    The Big Fundamental…

    He was in the top ten all time BEFORE this season…

    • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      He was in my top 10 before this season. But that’s really rare to see. Maybe it won’t be anymore.

  2. antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    “But no one ever made a coach look as good.”

    I don’t know about that. Bron Bron won Mike Brown a Coach of the Year award and a stint with the Lakers – a coveted coaching position. He also took Spo (who fans are obviously divided on) to 4 straight finals and back-to-back wins. Duncan is still working on his repeat ability for Pop.

    But I’ve been arguing that Duncan has been making Pop look great for years. Pop even says the same thing, though he surely doesn’t believe it quite like I do – or maybe he does.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      I’d be willing to bet that if you posted this exact same comment but under a different name, you would have a different thumbs up/down tally.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        That applies to a large percentage of my posts. You see it more when the Heat lose than when they win.

      • savvybynature - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        Tends to happen when you troll the boards, say moronic stuff repeatedly, put down other teams and players, and act arrogant, and as a result no one likes you.

  3. onenineninee - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    Pop would make Kwame Brown into a perennial all-star.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      Pop knows better than to bring Brown in. Phil made him a starter on a playoff team (which also started Smush Parker), that may have been his best coaching job.

      • hwatt - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        yeah there have been plenty of players over the years that the Spurs have kicked off the team. Part of the good leadership is identifying who’ll help your group and who needs to go somewhere else

  4. penvik - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    He’s top 5 alltime. Championships and consistency put him there. Lebron who?? Durant who??? Yeah, exactly!

    • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      LeBron: 4x MVP, 2x Finals MVP = 6 Total
      Duncan: 2x MVP, 3x Finals MVP = 5 Total
      Durant: 1x MVP, 0x Finals MVP = 1 Total

      So it’s more like “Durant who” because LeBron is right there.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        It’s disingenuous to not include championships in that equation:

      • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:52 PM

        If we get into a team accomplishment like championships then we have to start comparing teams, and that can get lengthy. But suffice it to say that LeBron did not have David Robinson with him when he went to his first NBA Finals.

        This gives us a good idea of the individual strength of each player though. LeBron is a better individual player than Duncan so it’s right that he has a larger collection of MVPs.

      • shaner329 - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        I think you’re forgetting rings in your little calculations there

      • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        No, I’m not.

      • Rob - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:06 PM

        Duncan has 6 MVP’s. He also won the All-Star MVP in 2000.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:57 PM


        LeBron: 4x MVP, 2x All-Star MVP, 2x Finals MVP = 8 total
        Duncan: 2x MVP, 1x All-Star MVP, 3x Finals MVP = 6 total
        Durant: 1x MVP, 1x All-Star MVP, 0x Finals MVP = 2 total

      • Rob - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        There ya go.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Sorry my friend, but it’s impossible to argue facts with this bunch. Especially after their “LeBron lost!” extravaganza.

        I doubt that Duncan would have this level of support by non-Spurs fans if they would have beat the Indiana Pacers. It’s all about LeBron for these guys. Frankly, it’s simple jealousy: if they had LeBron on their respective teams, they’d be sleeping in LeBron pajamas with footies.

      • Rob - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        Just one problem. You also forgot that LeBron won the McDonald’s All-American Game MVP. So LBJ actually has 9. You know he’s got that one right at the front of his trophy case…

        I mean, if you are going to argue this nonsense, at least get your numbers right.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        That’s not an NBA award. All-Star MVPs aren’t serious awards like an NBA MVP or a Finals MVP. They aren’t nonsense – there’s a reason why the greatest players in history have the most. There are quite a few people who have 5+ rings, but no MVPs.

      • Rob - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:18 PM

        So you are saying all the college awards (not NBA) aren’t serious? I think a few (thousand) players and fans would look at you funny if that’s the case. However, I was joking about the McDonald’s MVP (as the end of my comment suggested). It’s not one, I’m sure, that LeBron values much. However, you are throwing MVP’s up there, so at least we have some clarity on your standards.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        Amateur and exhibition awards aren’t as critical.

        I think, by and large, players with the greatest combination of MVPs and Finals MVPs are the best players in history. They won so many MVPs for a reason, and the addition of Finals MVPs just further validates their individual greatness. On an individual level everything else is just static – including overall ring count because that is more of a team accomplishment.

      • Rob - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        Perhaps Anti. But you have to actually ask the players. When LBJ teamed up with Wade and Bosh in Miami, he didn’t say he wanted to win not 1, 2, 3, etc. MVP awards. I would say an Olympic Gold Medal and the Larry O’Brien Trophy are more important to all but the most selfish players. The accolades (MVP) come with that territory, but no one player can do that by themselves. That player with all the MVP’s, especially a finals MVP, would never get that award without the help of his teammates. LBJ may be the best player, but remove all the coaches and players around him, and as an individual he’s nothing. He just helps his teams have a better chance than most at going to the finals. And if ring-counts meant nothing to LBJ, then he would have just stayed in Cleveland. It’s that simple. LBJ disagrees with your faulty reasoning.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        Players talk about rings because fans put such an emphasis on ring count and they know they’re judged by that, but what they prefer doesn’t have anything to do with the reality of their individual greatness. Plus, they’re not allowed to say they value MVPs even if they do (and they do), because it’s bad PR. But the better indicator of individual greatness is MVPs.

        Ring count can be due largely to things out of any one player’s control – who a GM drafts, who a GM hires as a coach, where you got drafted – and some of it is just plain luck i.e. you happened to get drafted to a team that already has, say, Kareem or Shaq. And just like that, before you even play one minute in an NBA game, your path to your first ring has already been nicely paved for you. This obviously stacks the deck against guys who weren’t fortunate enough to be drafted into perfect situations from day one.

      • Rob - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        We are comparing the “greats”, not the role-players. And if you are going to put LBJ in the “greats” category, then you have to include rings, as he certainly does. What you are not qualified to do, anti, is try to speak for players. You simply cannot. They have already spoken for themselves and the “greats” don’t say “it’s all about the MVP”. And they aren’t manipulated by fans to think that the Larry O’Brien trophy is the highest achievement. It IS the highest achievement. And all the greats in the NBA who had a few MVP’s would trade all of those for one Larry O’Brien. You can twist it all you want, but they speak for themselves. LBJ is an amazing player, but he hasn’t lived up to his own hype. And he certainly isn’t trying to win more MVP’s. He’s trying to win more Larry O’Brien Trophies. And that’s not because he’s brainwashed by fans…unless you are saying LBJ is that easily manipulated.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:43 PM

        Well I was once a star player and an elite athlete, so I know how they think. I feel I am qualified to speak on that – absolutely.

        A player like James, or MJ – they want to win everything – rings, MVPs, Finals MVPs, DPOY awards – all of it. Every year. The more the merrier. LBJ wanted to win the MVP this year and said he felt he should’ve won DPOY the last two years. Those are his words. I personally didn’t need to hear him say that because I already knew it – competitors like that want to be at the top of absolutely everything. I get it.

        And James has exceeded his own hype by an enormous margin. I cannot recall any player in history who had the expectations of James as a teenager, when he was expected to be the heir to MJ, and then not only became that, but to exceed that when he started having MJ’s ex-teammates and close friends ((Pippen and Charles Oakley) saying that perhaps James was the better player. Then he also has hall of fame coaches and players like Jim Boeheim, Oscar Robertson and Clyde Drexler echoing that, saying that perhaps LeBron is the greatest player of all time. That is what you call LBJ exceeding all expectations.

      • hickoryhigh - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        Well, if we’re being fair, the only one that matters is Finals MVP. What good is an MVP season if you don’t win a championship? I mean, it IS a team sport. So Finals MVP is really the ultimate award. So since Duncan has won MVP in 3 of his 5 championship seasons, he’s better.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        NBA MVP is the most coveted individual award the league has. And it’s so much more difficult to win because you have to sustain high level play over several months, and you are competing with everyone else in the league. For Finals MVP you just have to play well for a handful of games – even just 3 games apparently – and you’re only competing against a handful of guys on two teams. Players who will never be considered for NBA MVP can still win a Finals MVP.

        So I wouldn’t discount NBA MVP. That is a hard thing to win. It’s easier to win 10 rings than it is to win 10 MVPs, that’s for sure.

      • hickoryhigh - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        So, Kevin Durant just won MVP this year, but his team didn’t even make it to the finals. Yet, you think that is more compelling than Kawhi Leonard being the best player on the best team in the league? Sorry, I don’t see it that way. The goal of playing is to win. If you don’t win, then nothing else matters.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        It is far more compelling than Kawhi Leonard winning Finals MVP for three games. An award he didn’t really even deserve, as James was clearly the best player in the series by a large margin.

      • hickoryhigh - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        When Kawhi Leonard came alive in the Finals, so did the Spurs. Therefore, he was the most valuable player on the WINNING team. Without his play the Spurs wouldn’t be NBA Champions. The award doesn’t go to the best player, it goes to the one with the greatest value to their team. By that standard, any player on the Spurs was more deserving than LeBron. LeBron was merely the best loser.

      • kavika6 - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:04 AM

        But what did his play get him? Nothing. If he can’t win and can’t make his teammates better how much value did he really have?

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:21 AM

        Individually he had more value than anyone else.

        Switch LeBron with any two Spurs players and San Antonio would still win that series.

      • cscamp20 - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        thats not how MVP’s are counted!

      • iknowzeroaboutsports - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        Jordan 5x MVP, 3x All-Star MVP, 6x Finals MVP = 14 total, Lebron and Duncan combined.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        MJ at LeBron’s age: 3x MVP, 1x All-Star MVP, 2x Finals MVP = 6 total

  5. docboss - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    Very compelling stats. But how do you quantify “class”? He should be THE role model for NCAA and pro players.

  6. captainwisdom8888 - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    More often than not, it’s your PG that ends up being the general of the team and the “extension of the head coach” as they say, but Tim Duncan has been that for San Antonio for a long time now. It’s one thing for a player to score the ball well, it’s another thing for a guy to score well and play good defensively…but the best of the very best do everything well, while constantly making heir teammates better at THEIR jobs. That’s the trademark of a leader, a guy that facilitates for his teammates, a guy that will sacrifice for his teammates.

    There have been very few guys over the past decade or so of NBA basketball that embody what it means to be a leader more than Tim Duncan.

  7. timcast12 - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Exactly, Lebron who? All I notice is 2-3 in the finals. Not top 10 material. Duncan will always rank ahead of him and so will Kobe

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      That’s because you have a myopic view of LeBron. Winning a championship is a team accomplishment, that’s why you hear (or read) most sites saying that this Spurs team could be the first team without a true superstar.

      If you want a true indicator of “being the best”, look at a player’s Finals MVP’s for the years their team won the Finals.

      LeBron has 2 championships and he was the best player on the best team for both of those (2 finals MVP’s). That’s 100%.

      Duncan, by comparison, has 5 championships and 3 Finals MVP’s…so 2 of those years he was not the best player on his team. That’s 60%.

      Kobe also have 5 championships but only 2 Finals MVP’s (40%).

      Championships alone does not make the GOAT or we would be talking about Bill Russell and Robert Horry being the best of all time, and Derrick Fisher being as good as Magic, Kobe, and Duncan.

      • Rob - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        And, I would point out, there is no reason to talk about LBJ as the GOAT until his career is over. Then we can look at the numbers. You never know what will happen in the next half of his career. Injuries could derail his bid, or he could finally learn how to be a team player and develop killer-instinct that makes him a true contender for GOAT. Until then, we can debate those retired, question if those still playing will make the cut, and if we are honest, accept that we simply don’t know the future for players such as LBJ or Durant or CP3 or Howard among others.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        I agree with most of your points, especially about not comparing players still playing to those with finished careers. However, you have to be out of your mind if you can honestly say that LeBron needs to improve on being a team player. That’s probably his biggest attribute.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        And Lebron did NOT win the Finals MVP of the three he lost…

        MJ GOAT

        6 for 6

        6 Finals MVP’s

        Lebron is 2 for 5 in finals MVP’s… not 2 for 2.

        Kobe is 2 for 7 in finals MVP’s… not 2 of 5

        can’t just pretend finals LOSSES just don’t count and sweep them under the rug now…

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        I can say that losses don’t count when you’re talking about individual stats as I view winning a championship as a team accomplishment (as I prefaced above). LeBron was the best player in this year’s Finals, but he didn’t win the MVP because his overall team was not as good as the Spurs.

        If we use championships and finals MVP’s as the quantifier than Bill Russell is the GOAT. Hell, the Finals MVP trophy is called the Bill Russell award….he just didn’t win it because the Finals MVP award wasn’t presented during Russell’s career.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      Furthermore, LeBron’s record of 2-3 in the Finals speaks more to his greatness than not: he’s taken teams to the Finals that had no business being there (like the 2007 Cavs and the 2011 Heat (due to flaws, etc.)).

      • 6thsense10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        There’s no way you can say the 2011 Heat did not deserve to be in the finals. That was a team playing with Lebron in his prime, Bosh in his prime, and Wade at the tail end of his prime. They were also the favorite heading into the final series against Dallas. That loss was largely due to Lebron not showing up that series and I there really is no way to sugar coat it. The 2007 Cabs had no business in the finals. That was one of the worse finals team I have ever seen but Lebron more than held up his end in that series.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        You have valid points about the 2011 Heat. I was referring more to their budding chemistry and learning how to play with each other (LeBron and Wade’s overlapping skill set) and them trying to play a tradition style of basketball (with a traditional and aging center in Big Z).

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:23 PM


        yeah, he CAN say it…

        but it doesn’t make it true…

        I mean, I can say that one plus one equals three, but it doesn’t make it true.

        LBJ is very good, just not at MJ’s level and there is no shame in not measuring up to the GOAT…

        LBJ is better than Kobe already though…

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        Besides, I didn’t say that LeBron was the GOAT. I have him #5 on my all-time list right now (MJ, Magic, KAJ, and Shaq are above him right now, IMO).

  8. loubearkane - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Anti cracks me up , sticks to his position and thats it

  9. R. Edmond - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Tim Duncan came into the league with a great situation — good mentor and good coach and organization.

    Compared to, say Kobe, who came to the league with a great big man named Shaq who demanded to be the alpha dog and tried to diminish Kobe. All in all it was great and the two won more championships together than many other teams have, but that was the situation.

    Before that, Kobe had to deal with subpar coaches (Del Harris et al). So Kobe was forced to harden as a player to will the franchise in a championship direction whereas TD came into the team as the missing link and only had to get along to win.

    Context is everything.

    I understand this is the honeymoon phase for TD and the Spurs. (Remember when media boasted that Dirk was the best in the league when he won his?)

    But let’s be real and understand context.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      I agree.

      Yet I do think that Kobe benefited from having such a dominate teammate like Shaq, however, as it allowed him to be exposed to playing situations he would have never experienced had he been on a lesser team. I don’t think Kobe would have been part of a three-peat if he was never paired with Shaq (and Phil, for that matter).

      Which leads me to LeBron. How would his career look if he were drafted to a team like the Spurs with a David Robinson and coach like Pop? Or had the benefit of playing with another dominate player (in their prime) for a coach like Phil Jackson in a desirable location like LA?

      These are just some of the reasons why championships alone can’t be the dictator for the GOAT conversation, there are too many other circumstances in play to say that.

    • azarkhan - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      “I understand this is the honeymoon phase for TD and the Spurs.”

      Uhh, you’re about 15 years late with that honeymoon stuff. And I don’t remember anybody saying Dirk was better than Duncan. Ever.

  10. bknowledge - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Tim Duncan is an all time dominant player in multiple ways on offense and defense.

    People under-estimate Tim Duncan…and for many of the same reasons they have under-estimated Lebron and guys like Scottie Pippen. A lot of people value scoring way above everything else. Don’t get me wrong, scoring is important, probably the most important part of basketball, but people under-value the other things.

    Tim Duncan is a top 10 best low post player…easily. He’s a top 5 high post player…easily. Every time he ever stepped on the court, he was 1 of the 3 best rebounders in the game (of both teams combined…and for most of his career, he was the best). He’s in the top 10 ever in his ability to defend the low post. He’s probably the best defender ever from the high post. Because of his defensive versatility, Tim Duncan belongs in the conversation of top 5 greatest defensive players of all time.

    A team could easily build a flexible offense around him because he can draw double teams from the high post and low post. The only only player I’ve seen who comes close is Karl Malone (but he’s not as good as Timmy). Maybe some guy I never saw (Kareem? Ralph Sampson? maybe Ewing for a year or 2 when Don Nelson was his coach?). Anyhow, Duncan is at the top of my list of players able to dominate both the high and low post.

    What that means is:
    – put Tim Duncan next to Boris Diaw, and Tim says to himself, “I’ll play more like a center. I’ll protect the rim on defense, and play out of the low post.”
    – put Tim Duncan next to Tiago Splitter, and Tim says to himself, “I’ll play the high post power forward spot on offense. I’ll defend the high post pick and rolls, play in that high post zone spot.”

    Tim Duncan never said to himself or his team, “I’m the best low post player, and I’m getting my touches and taking my shots.” He has always done what is best for the team.

    Because he dominates in multiple ways on offense and defense there’s probably no player in NBA history for whom it has been easier to build a championship team around. That’s a great testament to Tim’s character and abilities.

  11. jimeejohnson - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    CantonBound: you suck even more than your crappy Knicks. It figures you’d be a fan of a bunch of losers since your the King of pea brain losers, everywhere.

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