8. The Big Fundamental

Some players are drafted into a system, few create it. Tim Duncan is one of those few players who created a system.

Timothy Duncan was drafted as the first overall pick in the 1997 draft, going to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs already had a great Center in David Robinson, and the two created the “Twin Towers,” referring to their defensive presence in the front court. Duncan made a presence for himself very early on, grabbing 22 rebounds in only his second game, where he was against arguably the best rebounding forward during that era in Dennis Rodman. He ended his season averaging 21 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, which are arguably the best stats for a rookie I’ve ever seen. The Spurs also reached the playoffs in his first season, winning their first series against the Suns, but falling to the Jazz after that. Duncan showed up, averaging 20 points, 2.6 blocks, and 9 rebounds during those playoffs.

Tim Duncan, already having a successful first year, was motivated for the following one. The season was shortened due to it being the lockout season, and started out the gate pretty slow. Coach Gregg Popovich was under fire, but Duncan stood by his coach and made sure he would stay. The Spurs ended the season with a 31-5 run, reaching the playoffs for a second year in a row. Duncan showed up, averaging 21.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, earning him All-NBA and All-Defensive First Team. Despite the short success from the Spurs in the playoffs the previous year, this year they lived up to their hype, winning the finals against the New York Knicks in 5. Duncan averaged 23 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game during his playoff run.

Duncan went on to be in the playoffs his whole career while in San Antonio, winning 5 rings with them, while winning regular season MVP twice and Finals MVP three times. He holds the record for most blocks in his playoff career at 568, showing why he is regarded as one of the best defensive players in NBA history, and he is still the leader on the offensive end as well. Duncan is in the top 20 in points, top 10 in rebounds, and also one of the best rebounders in NBA history. He is an all-around threat on the court, and shows why he was so successful in San Antonio.

I have Tim Duncan at 8 because of his impact on the court and to his team. I had him higher in the ranking, but after considering the players that are above him are where they are, it makes sense to put him at 8. I mean, he was amazing, to watch him just destroy a defense and then going down the court and being the best defender on the court was extraordinary and made it look easy. He was a reason why many NBA players don’t have rings, as well as giving players a ton of rings. He is one of the best talents the NBA has ever seen, and quite frankly, I don’t think I will ever witness someone that impactful on the court as him.

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