Since 1997, the case can be made that the best power forward in the NBA has resided in San Antonio. Some people know San Antone as The Home of the Alamo, or Sea World, or the Riverwalk, but if you’re a basketball fan, you’ve known the place as somewhere where four Larry O’Brien championships are safely nestled away. You can make the case that they won the championship four different ways (dominated the Knicks, overwhelmed the Nets, outsmarted the Pistons, and used experience over the Cavs). There is one constant though; the man who dominated the frontline and the man who continues to hold it down today; none other than The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan.
Now around ETSF, Tim Duncan is revered, put on a pedestal, and praised to the high basketball heavens. We’ve named him on our All-Decade team, as well as The Player of the Decade, but even in that, there’s a sentiment (at least, in my opinion) that he still doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
If you were to guess who had the NBA’s best record right now, would you guess the Mavs, Celtics, or the Lake Show? If so, you would be incorrect, because the best record in the NBA is held by the team residing in the 210. For their fans, it’s something they are used to. They’re more than happy to go under-the-radar all year long, despite the fact they are playing amazing basketball, and once again, a great deal is thanks to #21.
People can look at his points, rebounds, and minutes, which are all career-lows, and say that is a sign of The Big Fundamental’s decline, but the thing about Duncan is I don’t know if or when he will ever decline. The man doesn’t use explosiveness to be effective. Everything he does is efficient, and the man uses (or at least appears to use) the least amount of energy to get the highest of results. It’s not a dis, but it’s to suggest his style of play can be adjusted to any situation. If the Spurs need Duncan to be their leading scorer, he can do that easily. If they need him to rebound, block shots, and protect the paint, he can do that as well. There’s literally nothing the man cannot do on the court, it’s been like that for 14 years, but the basketball community continues to take him for granted, including the man who is writing this story.
One day, Tim Duncan is going to be gone, and the same way we’ve been known to lament the center position and how they are the last of a dying breed, the same can be said for the man out of Wake Forest, and the man who is arguably the greatest power forward who ever lived. When Tim Duncan decides to charge it to the game, all we’ll be left with are some war stories that could probably be more in number, if we just paid more attention to the man in his twilight years. Let’s heed the warning, and enjoy what he’s doing right now.
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