Top 50: Tim Duncan, no. 39

by October 07, 2012

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

The San Antonio Spurs are like Seinfeld reruns. No matter how many times you’ve seen them and know exactly what’s coming, they still get you.

And just like Seinfeld, you have the All-Star cast of four: Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and, of course, Tim Duncan.

On Seinfeld, Elaine, George and Kramer have their moments, but without Jerry, there’s no show. On the Spurs, it’s no different.

Give all the praise you’d like to the other three, but Duncan has been the primary reason for success since the day he was drafted by San Antonio.

Since taking him No. 1 in 1997, the Spurs have made the Playoffs every season.

In a lot of ways, Duncan and Seinfeld are similar. They are clean-cut, consistent, rarely flashy and true to themselves.

Seinfeld obsesses over Superman to this day. Duncan still enjoys a good game of Dungeons and Dragons.

Talk to either, and you would never know both have made hundreds of millions in their career and are considered by some as the best ever at what they do.

In fact, it’s hard to understate just how great Duncan has been. A two-time MVP and four-time NBA champion, Duncan has averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game since entering the League.

Remarkably, his offense actually improved last season. His scoring average went up by two points.

And in an era when superstars hold their own teams hostage every year by bolting small markets for bigger ones, the lack of drama that followed Duncan’s free agency this offseason is refreshing.

“No … I’m not going anywhere,” Duncan told Yahoo! Sports last May. “You can print that wherever you want to. I’m here and I’m a Spur for life.”

His head coach wasn’t stressing about it either.

“I don’t see him not having a future with the franchise,” Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News in June.

After an offseason about nothing, Duncan will be back with the Spurs on a three-year deal that will likely be his last.

So if you never seen the Big Fundamental before or want to see him one last time, get your Spurs tickets soon because unlike Seinfeld, Duncan won’t be in reruns for the next 20 years.

With lackluster NBA Finals against the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, you won’t be seeing many of his greatest moments on NBA TV either so you better see the power forward in person.

Depending on who you talk to, Duncan is the greatest of all time at his position. Outside of LeBron James, you can’t say that about any other active player.

But it doesn’t end there. Duncan might be the greatest player to spend his whole career with one franchise. He might be the best No. 1 pick of all time. The superlatives and accolades go on and on.

But to sum it all up in Seinfeld fashion, the Spurs chose Duncan first overall in 1997, and yada, yada, yada, now he’s one of the best to ever play the game.

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.