Appreciating Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs

I caught the late night edition Sportscenter last night before I crashed, and fought to keep my eyes open as I watched highlights of the San Antonio Spurs game. Between my closing eyelids I was able to make out Tim Duncan’s line for the game — 15 points, 18 boards, and 11 assists. “Tim Duncan gets no credit,” I said to my roommate. “Years from now when asked to name the best centers in NBA history, Duncan will be left off that list all to often.” A brief conversation ensued, and my roommate (a wise man) largely agreed. So here it is — I figured it’s time Tim Duncan got his due.

My initial reaction to Duncan’s numbers last night was this — If Rajon Rondo (who I love) had a 15 point, 18 rebound, 11 assist game the Sportcenter anchors would be on their knees worshiping him (as they often are). Sure, Rondo does this in a flashy, electric manner (which is worth something). But Duncan should not be penalized for putting up these numbers and yawning six times while doing it. That’s exactly how many times the commentators yawned as they watched him do it. Nonetheless, his contribution is the same.

Sure, he’s a somewhat boring, very fundamental player to watch. Sure, his personality is as exciting as your average plain graham cracker (not even the cinnamon or chocolate ones). All of this hurts his image, his legacy, and leads to his underrated status. But sit back and take a minute to tell me how you can under-appreciate this:

Duncan is 30th on the all-time scoring list, with only 7 centers ahead of him. All of those players have played many more games than he has at this point (he’s 34 years old). He is 24th all-time in rebounds and 11th all-time in blocks, again, playing far fewer games than the players ahead of him. His average game for his career is 21 points, 11.6 boards, and 2.3 blocks. In the playoffs he averages 23 points and 12.4 boards per game.

Those are nice numbers and all, but what really wowed me is this:

Duncan has played in every all-star game since the ’97-’98 season with the exception of the ’98-’99 season. In that same period he has won the Rookie of the Year award, 2 NBA MVP awards, 3 NBA Finals MVP awards (Kobe only has 2), and has made 12 NBA All-Defensive teams. He’s finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 9 times.

Oh yea, and he’s won 4 NBA championships. Considering he won the Finals MVP in 3 of those years, it’s fair to say he’s pretty responsible for those banners hanging in the rafters in San Antonio. Few players, if any, have had more to do with their team winning championships.

I appreciate Tim Duncan. The question is, do you?

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12 responses to “Appreciating Tim Duncan

  1. j-bone

    Duncan is really more of a power forward then a center, and might be the best power forward of all time. It is true that he does not get his due.

    • I see him more as a center, which is how he is listed, although I agree he has a lot of power forwardish qualities. He’ll never get his due, which is unfortunate, but unlike every other player in the NBA he’s not whining about it. Probably because he’s used to the lovely laid back island life on St. Croix (where he’s from).

  2. j-bone

    He played the majority of his career starting beside another guy who took the jump and was taller then him. He is now listed as a center, but up until about 3 or 4 years ago started as a power forward and made his all star teams as a power forward. He won’t get his due which is a shame because you would never see him with a firework display talking about winning 7 titles, having meltdown press conferences, or picking fights from the bench with scrubs during a blow out. He goes out takes cares of business and wins.

  3. A. Rab Money

    He is a first ballet hall of famer, and will get his due in that respect. He is just very under the radar, because of his attitude and personality, which is unlike just about every other star player in the NBA, or pro sports for that matter. He does not play with “flash” as you said, but is likely the most fundamental player in the NBA, which I personally appreciate much more. I bet if you visited San Antonio his popularity would be seen much different than it is nationwide. Great job bringing one the best NBA players of our generation into the convo for once.

    • I do what I can, and your probably right about his reputation in San Antonio and in terms of the Hall of Fame. Ballet is dancing though, it’s ballot, young A-Rab.

  4. Alan Weeks

    I love Duncan, I also love that he is from the U.S. Virgin Islands. He gets his due at 939. Maybe a Tim Duncan Appreciation Extravaganza is in order.

  5. Teck

    Tim Duncan is awesome I’ve always been a fan of the big fundamental and he is the reason I have such a refined bank shot in my repertoire of basketball moves. I agree he doesnt always get his due but there is an interesting stat that would suggest he does get credit for being one of the all time greats at least from the fans. In the past ten years not only has he made the All-Star team every year, but hes also been voted in by the fans as a starter.

    Another other interesting fact is that while we all view him as so mild mannered and for the most part he is, however he has some sort of long time feud with referee Joey Crawford who constantly gives him techs for any little thing he does.

    • I have a feud with a ref as well, big deal. Good point with the all-star voting though. As for your game — have you ever left the ground? Dribbling in circles 4 times until your defender gets bored is not “creating space” — followed up by an overpowered bank shot miss and I’m not impressed. Go play in turkey and suck with your boy AI.

  6. Pingback: Appreciating Sheryl Crow | howiGit's Blog

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