Latest News, NBA / Oct 22, 2010 / 11:00 am

Tim Duncan is The G.O.A.T.

(photos. Jonathan Mannion)

(photos. Jonathan Mannion)

Thirteen years. Thirteen All-NBA seasons. Four championships. Three Finals MVPs. Two league MVPs. One team. One city. The numbers tell us this much about Tim Duncan: Nobody has ever done it quite like him. What don’t we know about the greatest power forward of all-time? Everything else. In Dime #59, I sought to find the rest of the story.

*** *** ***


Pain becomes art. Novelists, rappers, painters, singers … the suffering of one has long birthed testimonies that resonate with millions. The ones who are really good at it, who turn pain into production into profit, go on to become living legends, and then, icons in immortality.

Is basketball an art? Or is it just a game? Are the stakes of winning and losing at the professional level too high to allow for artistry? Does one become a better basketball player through suffering, struggle and pain?

These are the kinds of questions I want to ask Tim Duncan.

And maybe he’d have great answers. Or maybe — because he’s been blessed with 6 feet and 11 inches of height, 260 pounds of lean muscle, and the footwork and body control of a dancer, or because he won the first of his four NBA championships in just his second year in the League, or because it all seems so easy for him — Duncan will reveal that he doesn’t really know suffering and struggle in his chosen sport.

But I haven’t asked those questions, because Tim Duncan is perpetually unavailable. Not that he’s hard to find: His work schedule is posted for public view and readily accessible to fantasy owners, gamblers and stalkers alike. Rather, Duncan makes himself unavailable for voluntary probing into his mind. One rule of interviewing is that you want your subject warmed-up and loose before throwing your deep, thought-provoking darts — but Duncan rarely leaves the comforts of frigidity. The most successful “thinking-man’s” ballplayer of his era has spent the better part of 13 years in the public eye keeping his life a closed book.

“He didn’t really say much to me when I was a rookie,” recalls Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs point guard who has since won three championships with Duncan and formed arguably the League’s best point guard/big man tandem. “Tim is a quiet guy most of the time, but after you get to know him he’s a great guy and a great teammate. He’s a great leader.”

And yet, from a media standpoint, Duncan might be the most difficult player in the NBA. Nowhere near the unnamed disrespectful, mean-spirited, miserable athletes that sportswriters share barstool stories about, Duncan really is a nice guy. He has been the face of the NBA’s signature squeaky-clean franchise for more than a decade. The quintessential All-World Nice Guy, Hall of Fame center David Robinson, will stick up for his former teammate any day.

But he’s tough. And because Duncan is so tough to figure out — treating interviewers to the same poker face with which he’s played each of his 1,100-plus pro games — and because there’s no flexing after dunks and no trace of playground in his style, he’s earned the scarlet letter in athlete marketing and media hype: Boring.

“That’s garbage,” says Robinson. “He does have a personality. But he’s no-nonsense. You know what he has? He has a dogged determination, and the team has taken that on. But it’s a low-key kind of determination, where you don’t talk about it, you just go do it. Tim prepares himself for the season physically and emotionally, and I think all the other guys know they’ve got to be as prepared as him.”

Somewhere along the way, in trying to solve the Duncan puzzle for this story, I figured out this much: Tim Duncan is not boring. He just isn’t interested in being interesting.

“What would I do if I weren’t playing basketball?” Duncan repeats a reporter’s question during a media scrum at All-Star Weekend. He sighs. He may have heard this question 30 times before. He’s not intrigued. “I don’t even know what I’d be doing.”

After some light-hearted prodding by another reporter, Duncan finally admits: “I would not be a reporter.”

Over the years, I’ve pined for Duncan to appear on a Dime cover. Before the conversation got too far, the b-word would surface and things went downhill from there. Beyond the question of whether TD would sell the front page, could I create a story about him that wouldn’t put readers to sleep? I still don’t know. (Let me know if you stay awake.)

The challenge would be getting something good from a Duncan interview. I’d run into him at All-Star Weekends, at New York Knicks games, at adidas events, but never in a setting for a proper sit-down, soul-searching attempt. At Knicks games, during the pre-game media time, Duncan was always cloaked in the no-fly zone of the trainer’s room. One of those times I approached a Spurs media relations employee and pitched one of my great ideas for a Duncan cover story: I wanted Duncan, who has a Psychology degree from Wake Forest University, to break down the psychological mindset of different types of athletes. The champion. The leader. The follower. The loser. Would I be able to get 20 minutes on the phone with Duncan?

The man practically laughed in my face. “Tim hasn’t done a 20-minute phone interview in 12 years.”

*** *** ***

Duncan should be more famous than he is. He is one of the standard-bearers of the NBA. In the recognized post-Jordan era of 1998 (MJ‘s Chicago retirement) until now, Duncan’s rivals can be counted on one finger; maybe two. He has been the anchor of four NBA championship teams in San Antonio, winning three Finals MVPs, two league MVPs, 12 All-Star nods, and 13 All-NBA and All-Defensive Team honors. He has averaged 21.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks for his career, ranking in the top seven all-time in each category in the playoffs.

While Kobe has been through ups and downs from Lottery seasons to off-court drama, and Shaq has gained and lost dozens of pounds while playing on a handful of teams and burning bridges in his wake, Duncan is the model of consistency. Every year it’s the same thing: Same team, same 50-plus wins, same championship threat, same 20-and-10-and-2. Only death is more dependable, because some people skip out on their taxes. But no opponent can avoid Tim Duncan.

“He’s just so patient. He never rushes,” says Orlando’s Dwight Howard, the best center in the League. “He takes what the defense gives him and he’s always under control. That’s one thing that as you get older in basketball, you start to learn. I guess it’s just like with life: the older you get in life, the wiser and stronger you become. And that’s why he’s the best power forward to ever play the game.”

“He’s timeless. He’s like a fine wine,” says Chicago Bulls’ All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer. “Honestly, he’s one of those guys that as he gets older, he gets better. More efficient, almost like less energy, but still the same efficiency. Guaranteed 20 and 10.”

As our athletes get quicker, faster and more athletic, Duncan is the tortoise from the old fable. He’s like Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th, catching sprinters from behind and taking them out while he’s walking with the same ol’ slow bop.

“Am I a better player than I was five years ago?” Duncan repeats the question. (He does that often.) “I’m a different player. Am I better? I don’t know. I’d argue with myself.

“You always try to stand pat with the things you’re comfortable with, and improve the things you’re not,” he says. “I’m probably a better shooter than I was five years ago. But then, I’m not as athletic as I was five years ago. So where do you draw the line? What do you compare? I don’t know.”

He’s 34 years old now, and conventional wisdom says he doesn’t have much time left to play at an elite level. Duncan’s 17.9 points per game last season were a career-low, as were his 10.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. He still led the Spurs to the playoffs — the team has never seen the Lottery during Duncan’s tenure, and has only been knocked out in the first round once when he was active — but they were swept in the second round by the Phoenix Suns, usually one of the San Antonio’s perennial victims.

Over the summer, trade rumors surrounded Parker, who will be a free agent in 2011, and the Spurs have made moves to feature a younger core that includes Brazilian frontcourt prospect Tiago Splitter. Duncan is still the glue holding everything together, but time is running out on his run.

“He’s been their best player,” says New Orleans power forward David West, a two-time All-Star. “He’s the guy they’ve built around, the guy they function around. He’s where it starts, and teams know that. We all get older, but as long as he’s still putting up 20-and-10 and they’re still winning, you can’t say he’s slowing down or anything.”

Duncan, of course, shrugs it off. “As long as we’re winning games, it doesn’t matter who gets credit for what,” he says. “One person doesn’t win games, it’s a bunch of guys playing well. You do your part as much as you can, and it is what it is.”

And that is … what, exactly? Duncan secured the title “Best Power Forward of All-Time” years ago. Should he get a fifth championship and perhaps a fourth Finals MVP before he’s done, does he challenge Wilt and Kareem and Russell as arguably the greatest big man, period, the game has ever seen?

“The only person in the League that slowed me down was a brotha named Father Time,” Shaquille O’Neal told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in September. “But no big man is ever going to do what I and Tim Duncan have done in our careers. It was time for 10 consecutive years that either me or Tim was in the NBA Finals. It was broken two years, but there will never be another big guy to do that.”

*** *** ***

They traded Wilt, though. They traded Kareem, traded Moses … they traded Shaq three times. Russell got traded on Draft Day 1956, before they knew what they had. They traded KG, C-Webb, Barkley, Artis, Elvin, Pau, Dikembe and Big Ben. While big men win championships in the NBA — or at least they make up the foundations on which championship wishes are built — so many of the game’s giants have at one point or another been deemed expendable by their teams.

Not Duncan. This summer Kobe Bryant said he was “99.99 percent sure” he’ll retire as a member of the L.A. Lakers. Duncan is the only player in the League who can point-oh-one-up Kobe. He will 100 percent retire with the Spurs. And then he’ll have a statue made in his likeness to stand outside San Antonio’s AT&T Center, throwing hook shots or dropping finger rolls or hitting bankers or whatever pose the sculptor suggests, long after Duncan has faded away from the spotlight. The ultimate steady rock of the NBA, now carved out of a chunk of stone. Fitting.

Will we see much of you when you retire?

“I don’t know,” Duncan says. “Right now it seems very unlikely, but maybe.”

“When you leave something, you always wonder the hands you’re leaving it in,” says Robinson, the cornerstone of the Spurs for eight years before Duncan arrived as the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. “You wonder if it’s going to be secure. There’s nobody better I could have left this team to than Tim. He’s phenomenal. The team has kind of taken on his personality.”

More than any team in the League has done for any superstar, the Spurs have converted to Duncan-ism. Parker and Manu Ginobili have built potential Hall of Fame careers by keeping their noses clean, mastering the fundamentals, producing winning (if not always exciting) basketball and, like No. 21, working the referees. Bruce Bowen went from an NBA journeyman to a starter on three title teams by following the Duncan model. Notorious wild card Stephen Jackson, who won a ring with the Spurs in ’03, names Duncan as the player who had the most influence on him during his San Antonio stint. Even the coach acts like Duncan. Gregg Popovich‘s unintentionally hilarious mid-game interviews on national TV have the same clipped, uneasy feel of some of Duncan’s interviews. Not surprisingly, Popovich has often said he’ll probably retire the same day Duncan walks away from the game.

“The thing about Tim,” says Bowen, who retired in 2009, “is that we wouldn’t have had success without him. With certain players on certain teams, they just define the team.”

I relay the words of Robinson and Bowen to Duncan. Tell him that two of his most accomplished teammates credit him with being the foundation of the franchise.

“What does that mean to me?” Duncan is genuinely thinking about this one. “Umm … I think it’s an osmosis thing. I’ve been there for a lot of years now, and the team is somewhat built around me. So I guess you could say that.”

*** *** ***

In putting together this story, my latest attempts to reach out to Duncan weren’t answered before press time. Before that, the last time I tried to get inside the mind of Tim Duncan was during another All-Star Weekend, at an adidas event where Duncan and Howard, the new three-stripes marquee name, were in attendance showing off new product. The two sat for group interviews. Naturally, Dwight’s oversized personality drew most of the attention. I zeroed in on Duncan and tried again.

You told me once that you grew up a fan of the Lakers and Magic Johnson. Do you think team leaders have to be like a Magic, like a Michael Jordan?

“No, because I’m not built like them and I’d (still) consider myself a leader,” Duncan says. “I’m built different — I would guess. I’m a different type of leader. I try to lead by example, try to be the best player I can on the floor. I’m not a big locker-room speech guy. I don’t do that stuff. I think what I do is effective.”

The event’s MC announces there are 30 seconds left for interviews. As I try to think of one last gem, Duncan looks like he’s ready for a nap. Soon, the MC starts counting:



The contingent of Chinese reporters (Duncan is very popular in China) have shut off their recorders, content with what they have.



It’s just Tim and myself now. One question won’t break down a dozen-years wall, but there could be time for a breakthrough.



I’m looking at him; he’s looking at me. The great icebreaker is floating in the air somewhere. I can’t find it. He won’t help me.

Time’s up.

*** *** ***

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  • drew

    duncan’s not even a PF imo. while admittedly an all-time great no doubt, some of the allocades he’s recieved (eg. 2005 Finals MVP, back-to-back MVPs in 2002/2003) he’s gotten the benefit of the doubt just like nash’s b2b MVPs in 2005/2006.

  • Dayinho

    Best player since Jordan. Definitely.

  • http://www.mmajunkie.com rangerjohn

    good stuff austin, drew is an idiot!

  • Detroit Dave

    Absolute Beast!

  • drew


    since you seem like youre in agreement w/austin, im guessing you guys would all rank duncan ahead of guys like wilt, russ, kareem, shaq, and hakeem among others right? since he is the GOAT after all :) stop drinking the kool-aid austin is feeding you, duncan isn’t even hands down the best player of the post-jordan era (depending on your point of view as of today, could be one of shaq duncan or kobe).

  • seany_t

    Great article, loved the cliffhanger ending!

  • K Dizzle

    lol @ drew hatin on Tim Duncan.

    No debate. Greatest power forward of all time.
    Did u just say he didn’t deserve his mvps?
    this’ll get me thru the day.

  • LakeShow84

    When everyone would hate and say the Spurs played “Boring” basketball i would always be glued to the TV just to watch Timmay.. shouldve been 06 Finals MVP too..

    Hands down one of my top 2 players to ever play the game.. consistency would be an understatement when defining Duncans career..

    And watching him shit on Shaq ALL THOSE years was a thing of beauty.. he was the anti-Shaq.. wouldnt say BEEP and would make Shaq look PLAIN damn near every series.. Thats why Shaq ACTS like he has so much respect for Duncan.. Duncans the only player who has REPEATEDLY one upped him.. Loved it when Shaq went to Phoenix JUST SO they could try to see SA.. What happens?? Timmay ends up hitting a 3 to force OT in game 1 i believe, his first 3 all year mind u.. if Phoenix wins that game they possibly have the momentum needed to take that series.. Beautiful lol

    And if Derek Fisher wouldnt have hit that .4 shot Tim Duncan would possibly have a career moment on Shaq lol

  • drew

    @ k dizzle.

    im not hating on tim duncan. if you were to ask me which bigs i’d want to start a team with for the last 10 years, i would have taken tim duncan no questions asked.

    if you consider duncan a PF, then yes he is the “greatest PF of all time.” having said that, a lot of people (myself included of course) believe he’s not really a PF but rather one by name only since the admiral was already the starting C for the spurs when they drafted duncan.

    regarding his MVPs and Final’s MVPs, i’ve never thought of it as an accurate barameter of a player’s greatness so to speak because based on that logic, nash is a greater player than shaq or kobe with their lone MVPs while nash is a multiple winner of that award. but had things gone differently in subjective (often bias) media voting, we could easily be saying jason kidd should have been the 2002 MVP and shaq and kobe would both be 2-time MVPs (shaq in 2005 w/ the heat and kobe in 2006).

    and for those saying did it without help, let’s be real. no one does it alone. while shaq and kobe had each other at the beginning of the decade, people have to stop making it sound as though duncan had no help. he’s had the stability of the spurs franchise behind coach pop, and all-star level talent in both manu and parker.

    the man is an all-time great but not the greatest of all time, that’s all.

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    13 years and 13 All-NBA teams. This dude is special.

  • AZ


  • control

    Timmy is by far the best player since MJ retired (from bulls).

    I just love how the guy leads, and how he conducts himself. He isn’t one of those loud mouthed idiots who the media props up as great “leaders” just because they are fucking douchebags who can’t stfu (KG). Timmy is just a guy who does it the right way, solid, steady and consistent.

    I don’t know why people say he’s “boring”. Just because he isn’t a loud retard who is all flash and lil’ substance (example: AI), he’s labeled as “boring”? Fuck that, give me TD over any superstar his first 10 years in the league. Easily.

  • AZ

    I think KG could did the same thing if he was drafted to the spurs and Tim was in sota. Just saying

  • K Dizzle

    @ Drew

    As I think I posted before, it wasn’t all a cakewalk for TD and the Spurs. In the summer of 2000, Manu and Tony weren’t on the squad yet. DRob was a shadow of his HOF self and the Spurs coulda been in real trouble. Orlando had TONS of money under the cap and made max offers to TMac, Grant Hill and Duncan. Unlike LBJ and Bosh, Duncan stayed with the Spurs and gave the front office a piece to build around. 2 yeras later Manu joined Tim and Tony and the rest is history. Just for that summer alone, i respect dude. People act like athletes never had a chance to stack up a squad before, but what kinda balls did TD have to turn down 100+ mil to play in Orlando with Grant Hill and McGrady.
    Respect due.

    @ Lakeshow – you phuckin up our dime fantasy league. U in or out cuz we gotta decide if we gonna go offline draft or what?
    p.s. You coulda had Kobe or Wade first pick, now we might demote you to last pick lol

  • drew

    @ k dizzle

    agreed. duncan could have easily left to play w/ grant hill at the time (tmac was really the 3rd option in terms of free agnecy for the magic that year) but chose to sign a 3 yr/33 mil deal. props to him in that regard.

    btw, im down for a dime fantasy league if there’s still room.

  • Mike “Yahoo! Exclusive” Mihalow

    Amazing article, Austin. I love reading about Tim because no one ever covers him, just like you said. He truly is the post-Jordan era’s G.O.A.T.
    Its also worth noting that his numbers are dropping, along with his minutes, in order to keep him fresh. I’ve seen several Spurs games where he’s 1 FG/rebound away from a double double, and he’s satisfied with coming out of the game that’s already decided, early in the 4th quarter. Without his presence on the Spurs, I wonder if Manu would be less satisfied with coming off the bench.

  • Ian

    Duncan got the benefit of the doubt for his mvps?? Lol if anything the man is 2 mvps short (kobe is missing one and so is shaq). No its not a three man race for post jordan best its between duncan and kobe and duncan gets the edge imo because he went at it vs kobe and shaq together in his prime. Everytime a player changes teams and does the same shit he always does but this time he’s in a weaker conference and get a few more wins people wanna give him the mvp?? Now that’s a joke(kidd did the same shit he did for the suns and jersey and u wanna give me the mvp???). Yes td is better than the bigs u mentioned. I rather have td to start my team than wilt , hakeem , shaq and russell only jabbar will give me something to think about. Shaq respects no one and why do u think he’s always praising tim?? Because he knows tim is better.

    I still find it weird that its mostly laker fans that really appreciate and know how good td and manu are.

    Hehe finally some love from you.

  • Ian

    Lol what??? Sota woulda made the finals in 04 and the spurs don’t beat the lakers in 03 and don’t sweep portland in 99. Let’s not even talk about the 05 finals with kg instead of td. Just sayin.

  • Ian

    Then again az
    Miller woulda won 6 with the bulls and jordan 0 with the pacers right??

  • Ian

    Still room in the league??

  • K Dizzle

    We got room. JAY’s commish so I’ll tell him to post the info in “Smack”

  • drew

    @ ian

    i actually tend to agree with your general assessment of how it’s more of a 2 man race for best player of the post jordan era in duncan and kobe. and you’re pretty spon on when it comes to laker fans appreciating how good duncan and manu are because i for one think manu is the ultimate team player willing to sacrifice his stats for the good of the team. manu for one never gets the respect he deserves because too many people simply look at stats only and fail to look at the big picture.

    while i never saw wilt or russ play obviously, i think you’re seriously overrating duncan if you truly believe he’s greater than kareem, who imo deserves consideration for the GOAT w/ jordan. heck, hakeem is better than duncan as it is (dream was a better scorer and defender than duncan).

  • drew

    @ k dizzle

    thanks for following up. hopefully the commish will have the necessary info asap.

  • SWAT

    wow great article austin! lol nice cliffhanger

  • Ian

    I said kareem was the best center. Wilt no way I pick him over td yeah hell get me 50ppg and a big loss in the playoffs. Russell nah man he’s ben wallace in his prime if he played today 8ppg 15rpg and 3 blocks over td hell nah. Hakeem is not better than td sorry two rings when jordan was out vs being the best player this generation?? The player I think people tend to overrated a bit is hakeem if u ask me. From 87-91 when he had a david robinson type cast around the man couldn’t even make the playoffs for a few years but a youtube video of him winnin a playoffs series vs the spurs will do wonders for u even if he went 12-32 alltime vs robinson. Also dream was a winny bitch he woulda bolted for orlando if he was in tds place.

    This is just an opinion of why I think td is one of the two best bigs ever but if people prefer stats (wilt) or super ben wallace playin with 8 hofers (russell) I guess tthey are also right.

  • Ian

    Sorry first round exits I think he was injured when they missed the playoffs not sure.

  • Mtx

    Timmy over Kobe all day to build a team around

  • JAY

    Dizzle informed me that a few you you want to join the Dime-regular Fantasy league… here’s the link.


    I’ll post this in Smack too.

  • S.A.C

    @ Ian. You must not know basketball that well or be 12 years old.

    Hakeem is way better than Duncan. But I’m not going to argue that with you though.

    What was crazy about your statement, was you saying Hakeem’s was overrated and winning when Jordan was out (though you don’t include the fact that Duncan was drafted with Robinson and was afforded the luxury of not playing Center during his whole career).

    How can criticize Hakeem for his championships? He should be applauded!

    And what David Robinson cast did he have around him from 87-91? That’s when the Rockets were in utter turmoil. Did you know that? You just displayed your un-intelligence and bias with that statement. You need a lesson.

    Did you know when Hakeem was in his second year (in 1986), he dominated a defending champion All Time great Lakers (offensively and defensively), and went to the NBA finals and lost in 6 games to another all time great Celtics team? Hakeem averaged 31 points a game in the finals as well.

    Everyone thought that Hakeem and Rockets (like you), was going to dominate for the next 10 years. But things started to fall apart.

    The following year, the Rockets lost their best top 3 guards via drug suspension (and they never came back) and the following season Ralph Sampson’s knees started to crumble and the Rockets eventually traded Sampson.The team was in shambles and Hakeem wanted to be traded.

    The next several years, the Rockets continually tried to rebuild, until Hakeem finally won again 8 years later in 95-96.

    But what you don’t seem to realize is, Hakeem Could of/should of won 8-10 titles, if it wasn’t for his guards flunking out the NBA and Sampson’s knees crumbling. So the fact that he was able to go back and win two titles should be applauded and not derided. Because no on the Bulls or the Spurs ever beat (can you say post expansion) were ever as good those Lakers or Celtics teams that Houston beat and faced. Hakeem should of been the one winning 6-12 titles and not Jordan.

    So you wrong Ian. That “Robinson” type team fell apart the very next season after they made it to the Finals.

    PS: Hakeem was just Better than Duncan skill wise, athletically, being a warrior and a big time pressure performer. Duncan just had more talent!

    It wasn’t even close!!

  • S.A.C

    PS: Don’t try to compare Duncan to centers, when he never played the position when he came into the league and his prime. That’s not fair.

    If Duncan wanted to move up to the big boys; he should of took the challenge and played the center position. He never really did. He just hid behind David Robinson.

    So you can’t start talking about Duncan being better than Hakeem, when he never took the challenge of getting his ass beat against Hakeem like Robinson, Shaq, Ewing, etc. and all those others guys did.

    Do you really think Duncan was going to guard Olajuwon better than any of those guys did? I don’t think so! Oh yeah. He never took the challenge or played the position.

    Duncan was soft (i.e. Brad Daughtery playing with David Robinson). Just Relax with that Ian!!

  • arjae828

    greatest power forward of all time? definitely. Deserving of two MVP’s? Definitely. Deserving of the two MVP’s he received? Definitely…not. Jason Kidd was robbed of two MVP’s, one of which was given to Duncan. To think that Kobe has one, Shaq has one, Garnett has one, a.i. has one, Kidd has none, and steve nash has as many is Tim Duncan is crazy ! Maybe there aren’t enough to go around but like Shaq said, “for ten years him and Tim ran the league”. They should each have five…book it !

  • arjae828

    and since when is power forward a soft position? Chris Webber, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason…couldn’t call any of them soft and live to tell about it. Tim alternates between the two spots. Hakeem didn’t play center to start either. He “hid behind” Sampson. You calling Hakeem soft too? No, they were interchangeable. It’s like a 3 guard line-up. You wouldn’t call one a point, one a shooting guard and one a small forward. They’re just 3 guards. Tim and Dave were just bigs, no definite position, interchangeable. and he’s def top 5 defensive post players ever ! Him, K.G. and Sheed were nightmares for damn near everybody…book it !

  • Ian

    im 12 because you say hakeem is better and its not even close?? please child go away men are having a basketball argument here.

    go check all the all nbas , mvps , finals mvps , and rings td has compared to hakeem (which again won because jordan was out) and get back to me. you apparently didnt understand the post and yet felt it was your job to answer it. didnt i say hell is someone was overrated its hakeem not duncan im comparing them fool. hakeem is a top 20 player alltime but if someone like you says hes top 10 you are somewhat overrating him. get it now?? read it again if you didnt. td is a top ten player hakeem is top 20 its simple. i must have forgotten you must be the ultimate basketball authority so why waste your time here.

    funny how you mentioned duncan didnt have to be center because he was drafted by a team with robinson you are kidding right???? who the hell played was center for the rockets in those dream early years?? remember??

    now to the cast part that again you didnt get the rockets 87-91 cast was somewhere on the level the spurs 87-94 cast was but dream couldnt get em outta the first round david did it with the spurs but hey you can always watch highlights of a 6 game series on youtube and feel smart so go ahead keep thinking like that.

    all i see from your posts are shouldas and wouldas. well you know what he didnt. tds resume destroys hakeems and its not close. btw didnt you start your post with im not gonna argue with you?? thats a long post for someone that doesnt need to argue something thats a sure thing.

  • junior33

    great article,
    Tim Duncan is my favourite player of all time,
    and im glad that theres finally some love for him.
    good shit

  • Ian

    dont bother with the dude i have no idea why i answered to a post that dumb. duncan “hid” , duncan is “soft” damn he must be jealous about something he must be a suns or mavs fan. the man even compared td to brad d hahahaha.

    arjae i dont think kidd deserved the mvp like i said players that change teams and do the same thing they were doin the season before are just flavor of the month pics. kidd for example did the same thing for the suns and didnt get them anywhere the east was weak thats why the nets won so many games.

  • drew

    @ ian

    im going to have to respectfully disagree with your assessment of hakeem. you argue that he won when jordan was out, but we can use the same logic and say that when the lakers were relevant in the past 10 years minus the down years in the middle of the decade, the spurs could never beat the lakers. at their peak, duncan’s spurs couldn’t hold shaq or kobe’s lakers. head to head, the lakers have mostly owned the spurs, which is why it’s hard for me at least to label duncan as one of the 2 best bigs ever.

  • drew

    @ ian

    and since you always use duncan’s 4 rings, 3 final’s MVPs, and 2 MVPs as leverage against hakeem, consider that dream’s resume isn’t too shabby either.

    2× NBA Champion (1994, 1995)
    NBA MVP (1994)
    12× All-Star (1985-1990, 1992-1997)
    2× Finals MVP (1994-1995)
    2× NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1993-1994)
    6× All-NBA First Team Selection (1987-1989, 1993-1994, 1997)
    3× All-NBA Second Team Selection (1986, 1990, 1996)
    3× All-NBA Third Team Selection (1991, 1995, 1999)
    5× NBA All-Defensive First Team Selection (1987-1988, 1990, 1993-1994)
    4× NBA All-Defensive Second Team Selection (1985, 1991, 1996-1997)
    NBA All-Rookie Team (1985)

    note the 6 all-nba first team selections in arguably the best era of centers ever (dream, admiral, shaq, ewing, mutombo, mourning, etc)

    i have both duncan hakeem in the top 15 players of all time, but hakeem was slightly better in all areas of the game when compared to duncan imo.

  • Ian

    im not sayin you are wrong i just disagree theres a big diff about how you make your pts and the way sac makes his.
    of course dreams isnt shabby hes a top 20 player i just rank td higher and gave my reasons why i wouldnt want the others over td.i asked to compare the resumes and if you check them td is a bit ahead of hakeem and he doubles him in the imp rings and mvps. i would take hakeem and dave over wilt or most of those oldschool guys to start my team any day for example.

    you said td couldnt beat the lakers?? 99 spurs 01 lakers 02 lakers 03 spurs 04 lakers (miracle shot).
    thats 2-3 vs the lakers with a prime shaq the diff was kobe and that we didnt have another allstar in his prime those seasons. isnt a 2 and 3 record ok vs a team that has two stars on td level?? hell the best spurs team imo was the 05 version who knows what happens if they play the 99-04 lakers.

    you dont rank players based on who good they are on one area compared to another you rank based on what they accomplished td simply did more. would you rank iverson ahead of garnett alltime because he could score more?

  • S.A.C

    Hey Ian.

    You made absolutely no sense, didn’t respond to anything I said and revealed yourself even more un-intelligible and juvenile.

    For example; were you asking me if Hakeem played Center or Power forward for the Rockets when he came into the league? Please answer?

    I don’t know too many people that feel Duncan was better than Olajuwon. Like I said. I can’t argue Duncan was better than Hakeem, when he didn’t man up and play the center position? So now you’re telling Garnett or Pau Gasol would play a better center than Dwight Howard?

    Are you also saying that Lewis Lloyd, Mitchell Wiggins and John Lucas, weren’t suspended from the NBA for two years and never came back the year after the Rockets went to the finals?

    Are you also claiming that Sampson’s knees didn’t crumble earlier in the Twin Tower era and he was eventually traded to Golden State in a package for Sleepy Floyd?

    Are you also saying that the Spurs beat any teams better than the 86 Lakers and Celtics (and that Hakeem didn’t lead them their in his 2nd year with Sampson as a clear back up)?

    What are you really trying to say, anyway Ian. The clock is ticking child.

    PS: Anytime a guy tries to use stats or awards to justify a player; you know he already lost the argument. You discuss players across era’s or different positions, with their skills.

    Hakeem was a better combination athleticism, skill, intangibles and ferociousness than Duncan ever was on the offensive and defensive end. It was even close!!

    Hakeem would annihilated him like he did Robinson (who was taller, quicker, stronger, left handed and more athletic than Duncan in the first place)!!!!

  • Ian

    4 time champ vs 2
    2 mvps vs 1
    3 finals mvp vs 2
    12 time allstar tied there but thats till feb
    13 all nba 9 first vs 6
    13 all defensive 8 first

    the only player in NBA history to receive All-NBA and All-Defensive honors in his first 13 seasons.
    so how can you rank hakeem over him??

  • Slick ric

    Even though I never been a huge fan of Duncan, I respect him; He’s been the best player after the Jordan era.

  • S.A.C

    PS: I’m sorry guys Hakeem played Center for the Rockets.

    He never played power forward!

    You guys are using revisionist history to make Duncan look better.

    Olajuwon was a center, played it and always called himself that from day one and training camp!

    Duncan was soft and a very good fundamental player, but lacked the combination of super athleticism, skill and killer instinct that Hakeem possessed,, and Duncan played in a era with declining big men and teams (compared to Olajuwon).

  • drew

    @ ian

    i rank players through a combination of things. individual talent on both sides of the ball, and winning. i can see your main line of reasoning of why duncan > hakeem, which is mainly winning. having said that, duncan doesn’t blow hakeem out of the water in that regard, but he does have a slight edge. hakeem imo has a moderate edge over duncan as an individual. couple those 2 factors together, and i believe hakeem > duncan, but we can agree to disagree of course.

    regarding duncan’s spurs against the lakeshow, since duncan was drafted by the spurs, they are 2-4 against the lakers in the playoffs (winning in 1999 and 2003, but losing in 2001 2002 2004 2008. and that 2001 WCF was the worst beatdown ive ever seen duncan take, so that knocks his greatness down a notch for me).

    just fyi but im of the mindset that garnett is significantly better than iverson. kg was a two way player who’s main weakness was being the go to scorer in the clutch. iverson is probably the best little man scorer in nba history (names like tiny archibald come to mind for me) but he was too ball dominant to be an effective team player. he may have the biggest heart in the league but that doesn’t mean he’s a good team player.

  • Ian

    really?? the ultimate authority (in a very juvenile and cartman like voice) is here to argue even more?? didnt you say book it?? if its a sure thing why keep arguin haha. you dont know to many people that say duncan is better?? who cares. i meam really who was talking to you when you decided to come in with your stupidy? i have wasted to much time on you. please remember next time dont start with “not gonna argue” if you are gonna talk some nonsense all afternoon you remind me of those espn commercial about talkin outta your ass. peace child.

  • drew

    @ ian

    also, hakeem’s 6 1st team selections at an era of great centers with only 1 spot for the 1st team is much more difficult than duncan’s spot on those teams as a forward.

    there’s a reason why the spurs brass has always been adamant that duncan be labelled as a PF because if he were to be listed as a C (something he player predominatly in the post david robinson era), he would have nowhere near the number of allocades he’s recieved in his career up to now (eg. yao would be ahead of duncan for all-star voting, and he’d have to battle shaq for the title of best center of the decade).

  • S.A.C

    Ok Ian. I see your a neo-phyte when it comes to basketball.

    It’s call Era’s players and teams. Are you dunce?

    First of all Hakeem didn’t play his prime years in the era of Duncan. Secondly they didn’t play the same position. Thirdly; they didn’t have the same type of teams for most of their careers. Hence, they will have different statistics. Why is that so hard for you to understand.

    By your logic; their tons of players in the NBA that are better than Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, etc. Stop going solely by awards and statistics, cause you know Duncan doesn’t match up with Hakeem when you break their games and eras down!

    Dwight Howard now has two defensive player of the year awards. And if he makes 1st team NBA more than Olajuwon; does that mean he’s better than Hakeem (or Ewing, or Robinson, Shaq, Mourning etc.)?

    Come one. You sound like a child that’s never watched the game past 10 years.

    Name me one thing (basketball skill) Ian that Duncan could do on the basketball floor better than Hakeem? Just one?

    You do realize the year Robinson won the MVP (there’s another award for you) Hakeem humiliated him in the playoffs and averaged 37 points a game against him?

    Now who would you rather be that year (Robinson or Hakeem)?

    It’s obvious you never really watched Olajuwon play, cause we wouldn’t be having this silly argument if you did.

  • Ian

    hehehe u didnt have to answer the garnett part. now on the dream part isnt that what ive been sayin i give him the edge over hakeem i didnt say blow out like my friend sac said abour dream over td.

    the 01 playoffs were only duncan showed up and blasted shaq the whole series even with a 40 20 game only to watch his team suck and kobe destroy them also remember that derek anderson our sg got killed by the mavs and wasnt healthy for the series. i can say the 99 series was the same. cant count 08 diff laker team and not a prime spurs team (fuck u crawford it was a foul on barry).

    google up slam magazine top 50 they have td at 8 and dream at 13 thats kinda more or less the range i have em in.

  • vernon maxwell

    Dream didn’t win two rings because Jordan was gone. Check the stats, while the Bulls were killing the league and winning rings, Houston was the only team in the league with a winning record vs. Chicago. When asked to pick one center in nba history to team up with, Jordan said he’d pick Hakeem.

    Duncan is probably the best PF, only real challenge is Karl Malone. But against centers, he has to contend with Kareem, Dream, Shaq, and Wilt.

  • S.A.C

    Why Ian! You okay?

    Another juvenile statement (your exit/end quote) of miscellaneous, cryptic, illogical, avoidance rubbish/ramblings with no credible points again by you.

    I think you just broke some type of Dime Record here. Lol.

    Do as you please my Brotha/Sista!!

    But check Drews point above first. He made a lot of sense (unlike you) and drove home half my point (i.e. they played different positions, so many of Duncan’s reg season accolades can’t be compared to Hakeem).

  • ricky ross

    duncan greatest pf of all time.that is my opinion and if u disagree then keep it to urself cuz i dont care

  • Ian

    “but im not going to argue that with you though” you said that 15 posts ago i said ok now why are you still talking to me?? grow up let it go i dont care about you why do you want to keep talking to an ignorant child so badly? are you one of those dudes??

    fair points on the defensive all nba. now lets talk 90s centers if dream was so much better than the rest why is it that from 89-96 (admirals rookie season to tds draft) the won 2 first team allnbas to robinsons 4?? then i have an argument there on who was better in their prime?

  • Ian

    there were actually two teams with a winning record vs the bulls spurs and rockets
    the first threepeat bulls were only 2-10 vs the spurs and rockets combined. dont worry i always said hadnt the jordan left they split the finals 94 bulls 95 rockets. i just like to say jordan woulda won to crazy rockets fans.

  • drew

    @ ian

    i can also use the argument that phil wasn’t the coach in 99, the 03 team was in decline, etc.

    just because slam magazine has duncan at 8 and dream at 13 doesn’t mean those rankings are universally accepted. they have wilt, russ, shaq (at 4th!), and kareem ahead of duncan. are you going to agree with that assessment too then? highly doubtful.

    and SAC does bring up one very good point. what exactly does duncan do better than hakeem?

  • S.A.C

    Duncan gets a huge benefit of the doubt because of the position he played.

    Like Drew said, if he would of played center, he would of never received the many of the accolades he received both in and out of his own era. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    Ian Brings up Slam. Ok, I can play that game to.

    Both Kobe, Jordan and Shaq say Olajuwon was the best Center ever.

    So their it is, but Ian’s juvenile logic; “that’s kinda more or like the range I have him in”. Now it’s complete!

    Who would you rather believe the retards like Ian at Slam or Kobe, Jordan and Shaq?

  • drew

    @ ian

    another reason why duncan is generally considered the best PF of all time if you consider him PF is because the guys he’s up against in PF comparisons (malone and barkley) never won a ring and because their defense wasn’t anywhere near as good as duncan’s. but alot of that from my perspective has to do with duncan’s game being that of a traditional center whereas malone and barkley are both unquestioned PFs.

  • Ian

    drew i meant those are kinda how i rank them td and dream not the whole list and no of course its not universal just opinions like ours.

    good thing you asked that cuz i havent read any of the posts from sac only the first one. why cant i say td is better offensively because he avgs less pts?? i rather run a winning play thru td than hakeem i think hes more clutch than dream , better passer and has a better basketball iq. now im not sayin you man isnt great in any of those areas because he is but i just think td is better on that plus the awards diff makes me rank him higher. winning titles 9 years apart being the best player?? who else has done that??

  • Ian

    have to go its been good we can continue if we get into the dimeleague hehehe dizzle hasnt posted the info yet. later man.

  • S.A.C

    Hey Drew. It’s not only “what does Duncan do better than Hakeem”, which is nothing. It’s also that, combined with Hakeem’s sheer athleticism.

    See, I always contend that Jordan and Olajuwon were the two best players I’ve ever seen (we can determine some other players later, lol).

    And one of the things I noticed about both are this: Jordan and Olajuwon had the best combination of skill and athleticism I’ve ever seen in a basketball player.

    Now think about that statement for a moment?

    Their a lot of guys that have one or the other in abundance or both in varying degrees. But Hakeem and Jordan, were the only two to have absolute top notch athleticism and basketball skill in one person. Nobody else had it like them. And they were both absolutely fierce competitor’s to boot.

    Ian criticized Hakeem for getting knocked out the playoffs in those rebuilding years. But he failed to mentioned all those playoff scoring, steals and blocked shot records he was breaking in the process, while hitting the majority of the rockets big shots against triple teams consistently down the stretch.

    Hakeem was a absolute beast!

    Lastly. The Rockets never faced or lost to the Bulls in the playoffs before, so why does everyone think the Bulls would of beat them, when they had a losing record against the Rockets during the regular season. Jordan always contended that Hakeem would of been his greatest challenge.

  • drew

    i know we wont change each others’ opinioins, but while i may disagree with SAC’s personal attacks on you, he does bring up some strong points in that hakeem was and still is universally regarded as the better defender (duncan is a great defender absolutely, but dream was on another level).

    offensively, hakeem’s dream shake is regarded as one of the all time great go to post moves of all time (much like jordan’s fadeaway and kareem’s skyhook). dream has also show the capability to be a high usage go to scorer whereas duncan has never shouldered as much responsibility for the spurs.

    and regarding the “winning titles 9 years apart as the best player”, the only other player i can think of is kobe (though technically, duncan was not the 2007 Finals MVP nor was kobe the 2001 Finals MVP. both were indispensible co-1st options imo for those title runs).

  • drew

    @ SAC

    you’re pretty much spot on with your last post. in the 90s, jordan and hakeem were the best 2 way players in the league. in the 2000s, kobe and duncan are the 2 best imo.

  • S.A.C

    Wow. I think Ian really is 13.

    He still didn’t answer (though he acknowledged the question) the “name one thing that Duncan can do better than Olajuwon” question. He speaks in variables, then falls back on his awards, etc. Then he says he has to go to boot. Really smart and cooperative.

    I guess he’s got to go back to his room?


  • drew

    @ SAC

    its cool, you wont change another person’s opinion for the most part. as an example, i could spend all day convincing kobe haters why he’s most definitely at top 10 talent of all time but theyre called haters for a reason (when you leave out objectivity and let personal bias dictate your assessment of a player). anyways, im out too ez.

  • drew

    @ ian

    jay did post the link somewhere in this very thread actually. it was #28. g/l.

  • S.A.C

    Hey Drew. Thanks for the comments.

    I don’t consider what I did personal attacks against Ian.

    It’s really not that important. I know what you mean though. It’s just sports. Agreed! But at the same time, if you’re going to defame a player or claim one is better. Back it up. That’s all I asked Ian to do.

    Hey we all have opinions, and like you said we can’t always change peoples opinions. But that’s why we have the dialogue. Right?

    Duncan was a great player. But I watched them both and when you break down their games and athleticism; Dream comes out ahead, significantly. Now if you wanna say Duncan is better cause he won more titles, etc., you’re entitled. But we all know basketball and rating players are not always that simple, and that’s what many guys try to do to hide behind stats or awards when discussing two highly regarded players, if they worry about theirs.

    My issue with Ian was. He couldn’t break down the game or skill of either player, but was making grandiose statements about one or the other. That’s why I said he must of been 13 and not watched them play. Cause he couldn’t seem to remember anything about their games.

    Call it a personal attack. But that’s all I was coming from. But it’s all good and nice dialogue. You brought up some excellent points yourself.

    A lot of people just forget about Hakeem (and other players) and their games and circumstances. It’s good that we (vernon maxwell, etc.) brought it up

  • That’s What’s Up

    Duncan is hitting bank shots right now, just waiting for another efficient and productive season, with The Thumb Ring on his mind

  • That’s What’s Up

    Duncan is hitting bank shots right now, just waiting for another efficient and productive season, with The Thumb Ring on his mind

  • That’s What’s Up

    Duncan is hitting bank shots right now, just waiting for another efficient and productive season, with The Thumb Ring on his mind

  • That’s What’s Up

    wow – it was so nice I posted it thrice

  • S.A.C

    @ Drew

    Oh I agree, we can’t always convince people of many things. But its ironic how some people are still willing to engage in dialouge, but repeat the same statements/arguments like Robots (hence the 13 yr old question I asked).

    I really don’t like to do that to people (as you pointed out I did). But when a person writes several paragraphs of dialogue with out making a credible point or responding to a question, or even defending their chosen player intelligibly, it kinda gets old. So I’m sorry. Lol

    We can all choose to ignore each other. But if/when we’re gonna speak, the least we can do is come up with something new and/or creative and stop repeating the same thing (unless the writer really is 13). But it’s all good!! Lol. Thx.

  • Thats what it is

    Kobe working out his knee right now, just waiting to smash the spurs and td, thinking about fitting the OTHER HAND for a ring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mr.brogden BANG OUT

    Consistent dude. Consistently outstanding for a very long time.

    He kinda fell into a good situation.

    Like Jay-Z’s rise to prominence AFTER Big n Pac.

    TD was aided by the lockout and MJ’s departure.

    He just capitalized.

    Can’t knock his track record.


  • christian


  • Shot in Ya Face

    Austin, I know I hate on your articles, but this one was actually pretty good. Props.

  • S.A.C

    Hey Drew. Excellent points on that Allen Iverson vs Garnett argument. I missed that.

    As great as Iverson was. I was never a big fan.

    I’ve never been a big fan of shoot happy off guards in point guard bodies. At their size, with out great/true point guard-like passing and leadership; their just too small (as you mentioned) to lead a team to a championship or be a consistent go to scorer.

    I would agree with you that Garnett, was historically not a great go to scorer. But Iverson’s lack of size and shot happy nature, would of ran his team out of play off games as well.

    When is the last time you ever saw a Point guard lead a team to a championship (Isaiah Thomas; the the best small player in NBA history)? And as great a scorer Zeke was, he also led the league in assist many years and was a great passer.

    But all in all, when you include Garnett’s size, offensive and defensive skill; he was better than Iverson overall; because he brought more to the table. I agree!

    Iverson was just too small for someone that shot that much and lacked great passing/leadership skills. But he was fun to watch though. Lol.

  • Duncanrules

    I think a lot of people forget that Duncan was already pretty much the top tier player in his rookie season and impossible to guard to boot.

    His very first playoff game was a pretty damn good indicator of that.


  • Duncanrules

    Also it is about winning: Duncan got it done more than the Dream did, and the Dream was a beast. And do not say that the prime Dream would own Duncan like nothing, prime Duncan has enough skills, athleticism, and (most important) poise to turn the tables on any of the big men.

  • S.A.C

    PS: If you gave me one year or 1 game. I’d rather take Charles Barkley over Karl Malone anyway.

    Yes. Malone had the greater career. But look at the coach, offense, conference and Point guard he played with? That and Malone’s all time longevity and health contributed to his all time scoring numbers.

    But watching the two through out their careers, play my team and various teams. I was much more impressed and terrified of Barley than Karl Malone.

    Malone didn’t have much of a offensive game or answers outside of fast breaks points and face up jumper. His post game was limited. I’ve seen good defenses stop him.

    Barkley on the other hand, was a absolute terror around the basket. Barkley could also hit the face up jumper and drive to the basket with ferocity and with a great handle. Chuck was also a lights out rebounder, as well.

    He could just take over the game and stamp his impression on it better than Malone I think.

  • ecco

    wow some people really rank duncan ahead of hakeem?

    nothing against duncon, i like the guy he is a great person and player but hakeem was prolly the best big man of all time, duncan is not even CLOSE in ANYTHING.
    sac seems like a weird dude but he is right, there is not a singel thing duncan can do better then hakeem, which by the way is no shame and would be true for almost every big man in nba history.

    i think the “younger” people who never saw a 48 minute hakeem game in his time just dont get it.
    and as other have pointed out, titles+all nba and shit like that, how does it matter in this kind of comperison?

    i think someone allready said it before, look at dwight today. there is not a real singel center in the leage so he is pretty much a look down for first nba team. when he gets more then robinson and hakeem he is better then them wtf kid?

    and did you ever think about why there are so many SUPREME players like malone, stockton, barkley in the 90s who did not win rings?
    in todays leage without a jordan bulls team, franchises like the rockets or jazz would rack up title after title…

  • S.A.C

    @Duncan Rules Are you serious?

    I guess I already know what I’m dealing with. But I’ll give it a shot? Lol.

    What athleticism did Duncan have (especially over Hakeem)?

    And for that matter I’ll ask the same question to you to you I asked to Ian. Just humor me?

    Name one basketball or athletic skill that Duncan had over Olajuwon (especially significantly)? Name one? The last guy couldn’t.

    If you wanna tell me Duncan won more. I’d say he was a product of his times, position and team/team mates, compared to Hakeem.

    Hakeem won his first title by himself. Duncan always had great support. But like Drew said above; was Duncan carrying the scoring load the way Olajuwon had to? I never saw defenders or offensive players actually terrified of Duncan like they did Hakeem.

    Lastly. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion about championships, if the Rockets 3 top guards didn’t flunk out for drug addiction and Ralph Sampson’s knees didn’t fall apart after they made the finals vs the all time great Boston Celtics team, after beating a all time great Boston Celtics team.

    And remember. Duncan didn’t play Center. He was a power forward. It’s not the same. So why are we having this argument?

    Don’t think it is? So why do you think so many power forwards (Nowitski, Garnett, Bosh, the Spurs with Duncan, etc.,) didn’t want to play center?

  • S.A.C

    Nuff said Ecco.

    You think I’m a weird dude man (just kidding)? Lol.

    Nah. I’m just as passionate as you on this subject (and I usually don’t care about discussions like this). But like you, I saw both guys play.

    And I think it’s outrageous to even have this discussion, as you said.

    I didn’t mean to be rude to the previous to the previous poster, but he snapped back at me in outrage initially, but couldn’t provide a cogent argument for or against. So I kept asking? It’s all good though!

    And you’re right. There does seem to be a lot of kids that post on here. Which is fine. But just make your argument or listen, when say one is better than the other.

    Thanks for your input.

  • S.A.C

    Hey Duncan Rules. Thanks for the video.

    Nice stuff. Good Player!

    But did you know that Hakeem dominated statistically (offensively and defensively & consistently) his first playoff series as a rookie (1985)?

    He also beat one all time great team/players (the 86 Lakers) and pushed another (the 86 Celtics) to six games during his second year, while putting up Herculean statistics and being the supreme go to guy at the end of those games?

    Now what/who do you think was more impressive?

    If you don’t believe me, just find the 86 Western Conference Finals on Youtube to get a whiff.

  • jace

    i dont like duncan… his style is just not my style..

    but………… i cannot deny his awesomeness as a power forward, teammate, leader, whatever you wan call him. hes just so consistently good at almost all facets of the game. highly intelligent. he has slowed down.. but hes still gettin it done cuz he finds other ways. that shows u hes constantly learning from the game. constantly learning from his own game. cant deny him. maybe if i lived in san antonio id like him more. who knows?

  • Caderade

    It’s a tough call, but I’d take Malone over Duncan for the greatest PF of all time. The only reason Timmy got the championships and the Mailman didn’t is the level of competition they played against. Strictly comparing individual talent, IMO Malone was a tiny bit better. Still, Duncan is a class act and he’ll be missed once he retires.

  • Gerard

    I don’t think Duncan cares what you label him as or what you think about him…

  • jzsmoove

    IMO, Best Austin Burton article EVER. Salute to Tim and AB.

    PS. I still dont like Austin Burton and his messed up EFFing opinions and articles, cept this one.

  • RC

    Best PF indeed. Class act plus he is so good that people refer to him as boring because he consistently outplay other teams big men.

  • Ian

    PER: Tim Duncan (25.1) > Hakeem Olajuwon (23.8)
    TS%: Tim Duncan (55.4%) > Hakeem Olajuwon (55.3%) !!!
    TRB%: Tim Duncan (18.5%) > Hakeem Olajuwon (17.2%)
    AST%: Tim Duncan (16.7%) > Hakeem Olajuwon (12.1%)
    BLK%: Hakeem Olajuwon (5.4%) > Tim Duncan (4.6%)
    STL%: Hakkem Olajuwon (2.4%) > Tim Duncan (1.1%)

    that being said cant i say duncan has the edge on offense and dream has it on defense? td is a better rebounder and passer while your man is a better shot blocker and better stealing?

    i bring this up cuz i was thinkin which superstars have won titles being the only allstars in their teams and yup its them td in 03 and dream in 94.

  • AZ

    TD/Hakeem Overall best season

    TD 01-02 .508FG .799FT 12.7RPG 3.7AST .7STL 2.5BPG 25.5PTs
    HO 92-93 .529 .779 13.0 3.5 1.8 4.2 26.1

    TD 02-03 .513FG .710FT 12.9RPG 3.9AST .7STL 2.9BPG 23.3PT
    HO 89-90 .501FG .713FT 14.0RPG 2.9AST 2.1STL4.6BPG 24.3PT

    TD 03-04 .501FG .599FT 12.4RPG 3.1AST .9STL 2.7BPG 22.3PT
    HO 93-94 .528 .716 11.9 3.6 1.6 3.7 27.3

    I’d have to give the edge to Hakeem i didnt even post his highest scoring year avg either.

    @ Ian
    Also was that PER the overall career PER? Cuz the the dream played 18 season compared to duncan 13 or so. If it is then his PER is going drop more and more through the years, right now it pretty much on par wit an 18 yr vet

  • Jimbo

    Well done. Fantastic article.

  • AZ

    @ IAN.
    look at it another way same age at 33

    TD 09-10 .518fg .725FT 10.1rpg 3.2ast 0.6stl 1.5blk 17.9pt
    HO 95-96 .514fg .724ft 10.9rpg 3.6ast 1.6stl 2.9blk 26.9pt

    and he also won a chip that year at 33 so You gotta give him the edge again, even though it not needed.

    Also your PER stats are from the beginning of LAST year and so it would be 12 yrs vs a 18 yrs?.. check the date on what you copy and paste from other peoples post.

  • AZ

    ^^LOL..my bad they lost to Payton and co that year^^

  • Ian

    dont know if he will spend 18 years cuz i doubt td will limp around like hakeem did and yeah hes slowing down a bit but check his stats from season one to last season. hakeem one a title at 33? nice but not as big as winning them 9 seasons apart. now the list i posted i know it opinions just like what we are posting here but i have yet to find one were hakeem is ranked higher. slam , elliott kalbs (td only had two titles when the book came out) , sports guy (hated the book) so i cant be that crazy or atleast im not the only one. damn im bored if im still on this article (btw austin its a great one).

  • Ian

    sorry at 32 not 33 my bad. wasnt that his last allstar season at 33 or 34 the same age td is now. i think td still has a couple of more allstar seasons left. and dont come with the well if he was a center yao will start cuz NO ONE would start over yao.

  • Ian

    hof monitor 441 td 338 hakeem lol i like that formula thingy.

  • Da_Griff

    Quality article. I enjoyed that.

    Wonder if Timmy D will put out his own memoirs one day?

  • Josh

    Hey Austin,

    I’m not sold on Tim Duncan being the GOAT, but this was a very well written article. I like the journalistic flair at the end, the combination of facts and introspective contemplation, both by Duncan and by you.

    A very, very well written piece and big props.

  • S.A.C

    All statistics and talks aside. I think people forget/tend to over look this.

    I seen Hakeem embarrass on a regular basis Patrick Ewing, Brad Daugherty, David Robinson, Shaq, Alonzo, Mutombo, etc. You guys know who were around then.

    All those Centers knew, when they came out on the court, if they weren’t at their absolute best, they would of been embarrassed. It got so bad with the Knicks, that Pat Riley used to put Anthony Mason or Charles Oakley on Hakeem, instead of Patrick Ewing to save him from further embarrassment (though Hakeem would guard Ewing and hold him to poor shooting percentages).

    I don’t see Tim Duncan as a better post defender than any of those guys (except maybe shaq and Daugherty).

    Olajuwon would of just been to quick, strong and crafty for Duncan, like he was for all those other guys.

    Duncan was a great Center, playing power forward. But unfortunately, he never took the challenge of playing center. There’s a reason, why guys like Bosh, Gasol, Nowitski, etc. don’t want to play center (or defend centers). It’s too physical. Duncan would of got absolutely manhandled by Hakeem (just like Dream did everyone else of his era when there was a big game/match up against another big time center).

    Remember yall?

    Kudos to Duncan and the article though.

  • S.A.C

    PS: Guys who were strong or scrappers like Mourning, people who thought they played great defense like Matumbo, or big bodies like Shaq, would guard Hakeem no matter how bad he was killing them. But guys like Patrick Ewing (who I compare Duncan most to); wanted nothing to do with guarding Hakeem and weren’t physical enough to slow him down.

    They gave up, got embarrassed, or got switched on someone else.

    If you weren’t super physical with Hakeem (either as a team or as a center), he would absolutely destroy you.

    Duncan would have no answers for that power, athleticism, craftiness and ferociousness of Olajuwon!

  • 13207


    Sorry, are you calling Tim Duncan “soft”?

    I’m not going to argue with you about Hakeem, who’s an MVP and a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, and one of the most phenomenal defensive centers ever.

    But don’t call Duncan “soft.” Seriously. You don’t average 11.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks for your career by being “soft.” You don’t become the defensive anchor the most consistent defensive team of the last 10 years by being “soft.” You don’t get dominated to 13 All-Defensive Teams by being “soft.” You can’t win a single championship (let alone 4) with a SOFT big-man leading the way.

    Okay, you can argue that Hakeem (2x DPY, 11.1 RPG, 3.1 BPG, 1.7 SPG) was the better defender, but Duncan isn’t exactly cookie-dough here.

    Also, to answer your question, Duncan was a better passer (3.2 vs. 2.5 career) and a slightly-more consistent rebounder (11.6 career vs. 11.1 career).

    Again, you can argue that Hakeem was better, but please don’t call Duncan soft: That just makes you sound dumb.

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