15x All Star, 5x NBA Champion, 2x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 1998 Rookie Of The Year
There can be an argument for who was better and who was more talented between last week’s subject and this one. Some would argue that if you place Kevin Garnett on a franchise like the San Antonio Spurs, with such front office competency and stability, that this would be a different conversation. Some will even argue with you that Duncan played center for the entire back half of his career. But when you talk about great, you’re talking about accomplishments and longevity. Tim Duncan is the rare case in which he has the total package in terms of accolades and sustained production. Duncan made an All Star team AND an All Defensive team his 18th year in the league. And he didn’t earn that All Star appearance on a retirement tour either. Duncan retired after the following season, without even knowing that’s what he would do. When you think about a player and a franchise having success over a span of multiple decades, the Spurs and Duncan are the standard.
Duncan’s nickname “The Big Fundamental” was an apt description for the lengthy 6″11 (7 foot?) Wake Forest alum. Faceup game involved 15 footers off the glass. The bank stayed open for Timmy. He would sometimes up fake, send people flying, and either go for a running hook or slam it down on someone’s hand. He didn’t have incredible bounce but his size provided for a lot of posters, almost like an elastic man putting the ball in the basket. He could put his back to you and turn his shoulder for a fadeaway. He had incredible hands so if you put it in the right place he could make it happen. His assist numbers were never high but that’s likely a function of Gregg Popovich’s coaching in terms of the extra pass for a better shot. Tim will willing pass out of a double team, and that recipient will swing it to another teammate for a score. Even as the offense drifted towards more pick and roll, Duncan still functioned as sort of release valve for the half court. And in terms of defense, the dude was incredibly smart. Throughout the 2000’s Duncan averaged 11.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks along with 21 points (ha!) and only averaged 2.4 fouls! We stan a non-fouling rim protector.
We also stan a lifestyle renaissance. Timmy ditched a woman he suspected of cheating to find a new beautiful vibrant woman who got him to actually get a legitimate shapeup and start wearing fits that look less like this one. He will also have my favorite reaction to foul calls in NBA history, up there with Derek Fisher in terms of incredulous looks on their faces. Big Tim is iconic, no matter how boring you consider him to be. It should also be noted how seamlessly he became the #1 in San Antonio, forming a formidable twin tower frontcourt with Hall Of Famer in his own right David Robinson (and woooooooo he was cold). Not only is he the greatest power forward of the 2000s, he is widely considered the greatest power forward of ALL TIME. All there takes is a quick trip to BasketballReference.com to understand why.