With the NBA Finals set to start tonight, a lot of people have taken this time to reflect on the storied, Hall of Fame career of the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan. Already widely considered the greatest power forward of all-time, a fifth championship ring could catapult Duncan even higher on the list of greatest players of all-time amongst other greats like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and of course Kobe Bryant.
There has always been an argument over the greatest player of this generation, Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan? Well, according to LeBron James the debate is already finished and he favors The Big Fundamental, as he told Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk:
Probably one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball,” he said of Duncan. “If I just look at the last 15 years, he’s probably been the most consistent, most dominant player that we’ve had as far as 15 years all together. He’s won four titles, multiple All Stars, MVP, and so on and so on.
There is no denying the consistency of Duncan as he averaged at least 18 points and 10 rebounds in all of his first 12 seasons in the league. But to call him more dominant over the last 15 years than Kobe Bryant, who has five championship rings over that time span, not to mention 10 All-NBA First Team selections to Duncan’s nine and nine All-NBA First Team All-Defense selections to Duncan’s eight.
Duncan does hold an edge on Kobe with two MVPs and three Finals MVPs compared to Kobe’s one and two respectively. With a fifth ring Duncan can have a very strong argument as the best player of this generation, but until that fifth ring is won, it’s very difficult to put Duncan ahead of Kobe as far as best and most dominant player of the last 15 years.
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