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The ETSF NBA Player of the Decade - Tim Duncan

Ever since the uproar surrounding the ETSF All-Decade Team post we ran in June, I’ve given a sincere amount of thought as to who has been the best player of the decade in basketball. After narrowing the list down to about three players that I could realistically make a case for, the ETSF NBA Player of the decade is none other than The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan.

Tim Duncan can arguably be called the best power forward that’s ever lived, and when you look at it, it wouldn’t be far-fetched. My favorite power forward of all-time is KG, but there’s no question that when you look at what a power forward is, Tim Duncan’s picture is right there. He has every post move in the book, he’s a great rebounder, great defender, great shooting big man, and has clutch. With the exception of the 2007 championship, he was, without a doubt, the best player on the floor every single time, and to be honest, if he isn’t on the court against Cleveland, Tony Parker isn’t able to terrorize the Cavs backcourt the way he did. Tim Duncan’s production, numbers-wise, has decreased, but it isn’t due to a deterioration of skills; it’s due to the fact that he’s willing to concede the scoring load to TP, as well as Ginobili, Roger Mason, and now, Richard Jefferson.

He seems to be perfectly content letting those cats get their shine on, while he continues to do the dirty work, and keep the Spurs in title contention on a yearly basis. The only other superstar who I’ve seen do it (concede the scoring load willingly, and still be a beast) is Kevin Garnett. No other superstar, at least one that can be considered for an honor of this magnitude, would be able to do such a thing, and if you think I’m lying, take a look at their history, and get back with me.

Even though Duncan’s numbers are in decline, he’s always understood how to play basketball. Sure, he’s gotten older over the decade, but in his prime, he beat people with his mind and fundamentals more than sheer athletic ability anyway. That’s why he can continue to be “the Duncan of old” when the Spurs need him to be. He’ll abuse his opponent on his basketball IQ alone. The only other player who can do that is Kobe, and even he can’t do that as effective as Duncan, because there is not one player, or situation on Earth, that can get in Tim Duncan’s head.

The thing that gets me, more than anything, is how truly underappreciated Tim Duncan is. I’ll admit I took him for granted once, but after watching more basketball over the years, it’s impossible to ignore how great of a basketball player he really is. It’s usual for people to say there will never be another “so-and-so,” but those same people rarely say it about Duncan, but I’ll go on record and say it now: there will never be another Tim Duncan. Never.

Be easy.

-K. Masenda


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