The Stone Buddha. The Big Fundamental. When you say these names, the person you immediately think of is NBA player Tim Duncan. To be fair, these names perfectly represent Duncan, because he wasn’t a flashy player. However, even if he wasn’t flashy, Duncan was easily one of the most complete players the game has ever seen. I literally can’t think of anything he was bad at, because as a big man, he was able to pass, shoot, defend, and facilitate the game’s pace. His level of dominance isn’t one that you can solely base on stats; his dominance came from his prowess across the board. Though, before I explain further, I’m going to take some time to talk about how he first came into the league.
Duncan was drafted with the first pick of the 1997 draft to the San Antonio Spurs, and immediately made his impact known, averaging 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. His team ended with a record of 56-26 and went to the playoffs but lost in the second round. However, in the next year, Duncan led his team back to the playoffs and won the NBA Finals with Duncan winning the Finals MVP trophy. In the next couple of years, Duncan averaged similar stats, but still steadily increased in both ppg and rpg. Then, in both 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, Duncan won his first two regular-season MVPs. These two were extremely monumental achievements, because at this time, Shaquille O’Neal, one of the greatest centers to ever play the game, was in his prime in the league. Also, in the 2001-2002 season, the San Antonio Spurs won their second championship with Duncan winning his second Finals MVP. Then, in 2004-2005, the Spurs won their third championship with Duncan winning his third Finals MVP. After this season, the Spurs would go on to win two more championships with Duncan, and eventually, in 2016, Duncan retired. Duncan finished with the fourteenth most points scored in NBA history, the sixth most rebounds in NBA history, and the fifth most blocked shots in NBA history. Along with these crazy statistics, Duncan also led his team to the playoffs in every season he played (1997-2016).
The reason why I believe that Tim Duncan can be considered the GOAT is because of how he was able to stay so consistent over his 19-year career. He led his team to the playoffs each time, with much harder competition than most (I think that the 2000s were the most competitive decade in terms of game style and pace). He was also able to remain a lethal defender and scorer for most of his career, and essentially, the argument that I’m going for here is his longevity. Also, another reason why I look at him as a possibility for the GOAT is because of how indisputable it is that Duncan is the GOAT power forward. I can’t think of a plausible argument for any other power forward as the greatest, and if Duncan can be considered the GOAT power forward so easily, why is he so readily left out of the GOAT debate?
What do you think?