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Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 11:50 pm  |  14 responses

SI: Duncan’s Boredom Limits Greatness?

Not this argument again.

by Chris Deaton

Substitution: a bit of bluntness for propriety.Spurs Nets Basketball

It’s poor etiquette to throw near-faceless cyberjabs at a fellow sportswriter, so that isn’t gonna happen.  But the opinion of Dan Shaughnessy, that Tim Duncan’s legend is hampered by, well, not enough fame or something: dude, it’s goofy.  So are these “rankings” of the best players, in a way; and those of the best bars, the best beers, the best bodies, though they’re fun fodder for fellas around the coffee pot.  Our opinions are arbitrary—they’re judgment calls.

I care for Tim Duncan.  Always have.  If he really is “the Pete Sampras of basketball,” at 20K/10K and counting, at four rings, three Finals MVPs, two League MVPs and one fundamental moniker that expresses why he’s the game’s how-to guide, then he could be, oh, somewhere around eighth in the historian’s list of greats.

Could be.  It may not be his definitive slot on the hoops hierarchy, but not only is he in the chat, he’s one among a mere few who belongs.  So don’t dismiss him so easily, please.  The moment that Tim Duncan and Bob Pettit occupy the same plane of balling goodness, Star Wars and Avatar are equal FX marvels.

But they are!

If adjusted for technological evolution, sure.  But we’ve driven around this block.  There’ve been many thousands of days since Pettit’s days, and Tim Duncan plays against harder, better, faster, stronger.  His team’s win percentage has never dipped below .600—and he’s never been anything but the best player on his team.

All of these and more are the reasons many think Duncan is the best power forward to have played professional ball, so elaboration is redundant.  And it’s hard—nay, preposterous—to say whether his greatness exceeds that of Cousy’s or West’s or any of the others’ floating in the NBA’s exosphere.

But the idea that Tim Duncan is an unremarkable superstar—someone whose brilliance has been dimmed by “a small media market” or “a lack of flair” or a nickname befitting “a guy you’d fit for a pocket protector”—is plumb silly.  His commitment to executing all facets of the game, those that appear in the box score and otherwise, amplifies his plentiful talent and sets him further apart from his contemporaries and predecessors.

The defense slumbers.

(Joe Posnanski, whose top-ten appraisal of Duncan beckoned Shaughnessy’s response, gives his 88 cents here.)

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  • Shaq

    It shocks me that people would say this about Timmy D.. He’s not great because he doesn’t speak that much, what is his problem… The greatest power forward ever… Yes he is better than the mailman… It is shocking he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.. But if he punched a player or got arrested it would be different smh

  • nastierthanu

    People are funny and sports writers are hilarious. Being great these days isn’t enuf. U must be marketable. TD’s a throw back baller who has mastered the bank shot. He’s married we’ve heard no scandal and sports writers hate. TD=CLASS ACT. Shout out to randolph childress

  • matt

    Shaughnessy is a goon. I would rate Tim Duncan over Shaq, Robertson, West, and Cousy. I would only rank him behind Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Magic, Bird, and Wilt. Where does this guy get off insinuating that Dirk is better than Bird, that MJ isn’t a top three player? As dominant as Shaq was in his prime he went on auto pilot during several regular seasons and wouldn’t have missed as many games if he had stayed in better shape. If anything, the smaller market is evidence for how Duncan is underrated not overrated, if this goon can write this with a straight face. Is today April 1?

  • Ronald

    The article isn’t as bad as the title suggests. Yes, does the author sound retarded and obnoxious at the start? Does he sound like a fanboy defending his favourites? Yes, but at the end of the article you get the feeling that he can’t seem to deny Duncan’s greatness. Still, there are some dumb moments like putting Shaq in the top-10 despite all his flaws and indoctrining Lebron James as part of the greatest players to ever play the game despite only being in the 7th year of his career, what happens if LBJ blows up both his knees and retires from basketball? Does 7 years of statistical excellence make a HOF career? I think not. But still, the fact that he has to argue against Duncan’s position sort of validates the fact that Duncan is in the discussion of being in the top 10 ever.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/san-dova-speak-easy/ San Dova

    Good stuff, Deat.

    While many of the NBA’s spectators have lamented the “boring” style of play of the Spurs, and Duncan in particular, I’ve found that San Antonio is actually very much exciting. You never know exactly how Duncan is going to score, despite having the knowledge of his pace and skill set.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Can you really, HONESTLY say that Avatar is as good as Star Wars I, II or III? (Now called IV, V, VI)
    FU*K the article man.. I stopped reading to make this comment. Star Wars is legendary.
    Star Wars> Avatar, and it’s not even close.

    Tim Duncan is the G4OT.

  • http://slamonline.com Chris Deaton

    HA! WHOA!

    Heeeeeell no, Avatar isn’t as good as Star Wars. Special FX, baby. That’s the only comparison. Jake Sully’s got cow patties on Luke Skywalker, man. I wouldn’t ever argue that.

    And yes, Timmy is the GPFOAT.

  • RedRum

    TD is the best two-way player after MJ. Think about it. Magic, Shaq, Bird, (the other three in the modern era) have not played defense. Shaq never won most rebounds (TD has won it twice if I am correct). TD has been the defensive anchor of his team for 14 years. He is not just a great defender, he coordinates the defense, he destroys pick n rolls, he is the best help defense post player the game has ever seen. Think about it.

  • RedRum

    I will dare say that not just he is the best PF ever, he is the probably the best player ever after MJ… you can all go as crazy as you like, but think about it. IF you had to pick one player the in the last 30 years to start a new franchise, after MJ (he is a lock), who would you pick that would guarantee you multiple titles?

  • The Philosopher

    @RedRum: Hakeem Olajuwon.

  • LA Huey

    His technology might be a bit outdated but Duncan has to be top 10. Dominant on both ends of the floor for bulk of his career, best player on multiple title teams, and he won despite the percieved bias against small markets and preference for offense the NBA has had.

  • Francis

    Shaughnessy, what do you expect. the guy is from Boston, and he wrote the article after the spurs defeated the celtics and kevin garnett, one of timmy’s contemporaries. he’s probably still have ill feelings because timmy did not land in Boston during the draft….

  • jdn41

    @RedRum: Robert Horry

  • dNYCe

    I agree, from Mass and unfortunately have had to read Shaughnessy’s garbage for years

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