Player Focus – Kevin Garnett

When Kevin Garnett was drafted right after high school back in 1995 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, nobody knew what to expect from the tall but thin prospect. He was viewed as a project who would need years before developing into a productive player. Of course it all ended with him being the greatest player in franchise history and ranking first in almost all major statistical category. Let’s take a look at The Big Ticket’s game and how he revolutionized the power forward position.

 

Scoring

When it comes to scoring the basketball, you would expect your power forward to do it exclusively in the paint. Not KG. He could score from almost anywhere on the court. His combination of height and speed enables him to blow by most big defenders and muscle his way against smaller ones. His jumper is almost automatic from inside the arc and he has an array of post moves that would leave his opponents dumbfounded on how to defend him effectively.

 

Defense

Despite not having any stars to play alongside him during most of his time with the Wolves, Garnett has managed to lead the team to multiple playoff appearances because of his all-around skills, especially his defense. His length allows him to bother shots from anyone and he is also an exceptional one on one defender. He can defend post players and he can also defend perimeter players, cancelling out the advantages of players such as Dirk Nowitzki, who is a tough cover due to his size. This makes Garnett an invaluable asset to have on the defensive end.

 

Rebounding

He has magnet-like hands when it comes to cleaning the glass. Despite his thin frame, his long arms, quickness, and anticipation allows him to grab rebounds even against the biggest and strongest opponents. He almost always knows where the ball will end up after a shot. He uses his quickness to get around slower opponents and grab the ball. Of course it’s not only the physical gifts that makes him a great rebounder, but also his effort to get the ball. There are a lot of power forwards who shy away from rebounding, not Garnett.

 

Passing

When defending against Kevin Garnett, it’s not only his scoring that you should worry about, but his passing as well. Due to his height, he sees the floor so well that he knows when and where to pass the ball. This makes double teaming him a nightmare as he can find the open man with ease. Even on fast breaks, KG has proven that he could pass the ball as well as he could run the floor, making his opponents clueless on how to play against him.

 

The constant knock on KG has been his lack of success while leading his own team. Of course it could be argued that his talents are most suited to that of a team player with other great players, such as what happened in Boston where he teamed up with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to win a championship. However when all is said and done, Garnett will be remembered as a great player and future Hall of Famer, whose unique talents revolutionized the power forward position.

Player Focus – Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki came into the league with nobody knowing who he was. He was a tall, skinny European who looks like someone who wouldn’t last a few games in the NBA. Right after being drafted, he was dealt for Robert “Tractor” Traylor, which is one of the most lopsided deals in league history when looking back on it. Nowitzki has carved a great career and is known as one of the greatest NBA players ever. Let’s dive into his game and how he played the game of basketball.

 

Scoring

When talking about Dirk’s game, it’s impossible not to mention his greatest talent, putting the ball into the hoop. He can score from almost anywhere on the court. His signature one legged fade away has haunted countless opponents and is virtually unblockable. Due to his height, he can post up down low, making him a nightmare to defend. His outside shooting has a lot of basketball fans comparing him to the legend, Larry Bird. Being 7 feet and shooting accurately from 3 point land, you can’t imagine how opponents plan for him as there are but a few big men wo can guard him outside, and putting smaller defenders allows him to operate inside.

 

Rebounding

European players have a reputation of being on the soft side. Nowitzki may have not been known as a bruiser, however he has proven that he does not mind banging bodies inside when grabbing rebounds. Somewhat surprising because of his playing style, Dirk is a very good rebounder despite his thin frame. His long arms and uncanny anticipation allows him to crash the boards very well, especially on the defensive end.

 

Clutch Plays

The thing that led to most comparisons to Larry Bird is his ability to hit outside shots. However there is more to it than just that, as Nowitzki has made countless game altering shots, just like Larry Legend. When you need a bucket in the crunch time, everybody knows that you will go to Dirk for that go ahead basket. He has the ability to drown out all the noise and sink those pressure packed shots to help his team.

 

Throughout his long career, Dirk has gone from being labeled as a choker and being soft, to shattering those labels and silencing his critics. By leading the Dallas Mavericks to their lone title, against the LeBron James led Miami Heat no less, he has proven that he is not just a typical European NBA player and that he has the goods to lead and NBA team to the promised land. He may be the greatest European player to ever set foot in the NBA and will surely be inducted in to the basketball Hall of Fame once he retires.

Player Focus – Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol wasn’t always known as a great player in the NBA despite winning Rookie of the Year honors during his first season. This is because he initially played for the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies, a small market team that had trouble making the playoffs every year. When they hired Hubie Brown as coach, the culture of the team changed and they began fighting for post season positioning. This is when Pau somewhat became known, prior to his stint with the L.A. Lakers. Let’s take a look at his game and see why he was so important during LA’s championship runs.

 

 

 

Post Play

Pau has been causing havoc in the post for years. He is a very tough guy to defend because of his length, footwork, and post moves. While he is not as bruising compared to other big men in the league, he is very intelligent which enables him to outsmart stronger defenders and putting the ball in the basket. He has and endless array of post moves and because he is quick on his feet and his reaction times are great, he can leave defenders in the dust or fake them while going the other direction instead.

 

Offensive Awareness

Not only is Pau a scoring threat on the offensive side, but he can beat you in a lot of ways too. He is a great passer for a big man, which is why the Lakers where so successful running the triangle offense. He knows when to make the pass, and to whom. He can pass out of the post when double teamed, and within the flow of the offense that results n easy baskets. His off the ball movement is also top-notch as he knows where exactly he should be in order to maintain the flow of the offense.

 

Unselfishness

One of the qualities that best describe Gasol is his unselfishness. He is willing to do anything in order to let his team win. Despite his overwhelming talents, he often defers to team mates for the sake of preserving team chemistry. It has often been documented that his Laker team mate, Kobe Bryant always wants to be the leader of their team and as talented as Gasol is, he was willing to sacrifice stats in order for the Lakers to not have internal issues and ultimately win championships.

 

Leadership

Even though he often lets team mates with large egos act as the team leader, Gasol still shows leadership qualities. His maturity rubs off on young team mates who more often than not listens to him in the basketball court. Especially during his time with the Grizzlies, his brand of leadership is not usually the in your face, gung-ho type, but the calm and cool leader who does not buckle under pressure and will help you when you are feeling down.

 

Pau Gasol is a surefire Hall of Famer anyway you cut it. He has won in the NBA and the Olympics for Spain. He might not have been an A-List superstar in the NBA, but he has proven that he has what it takes to compete in basketball at the highest level and even excel. His contributions to the Lakers’ championship years will be well remembered when looking back at his legacy. His leadership and unselfishness are seen as vital contributions to very successful years.

Player Focus – Scottie Pippen

There may not be anyone more underrated in NBA history than Scottie Pippen. It is understandable, however, since he played with the greatest basketball player of all time. It can also be argued that he has had the success he enjoyed since he played with Michael Jordan. Both scenarios can be true though, as Michael needed Scottie to win their six championships, and vice versa. Let’s take a look at Pippen’s game and how he helped the Chicago Bulls build a dynasty in the 90s.

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Defense

Perhaps the most well-known part of Pippen’s game, he has been known as a lockdown defender for most of his career. He and MJ made the 90s Bulls teams elite defensive units. The thing that makes him an elite defender is his versatility. He is fast enough to shut down guards and strong and long enough to guard bigger wing players. He has the capability to guard elite offensive players one on one while also providing help to his teammates who are in need.

 

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Playmaking

Dubbed as the first-ever “Point Forward”, Scottie was tasked numerous times to run Chicago’s offense as to free up Michael Jordan of the duties and also when there was no suitable point guard. Phil Jackson always favored big guards which is why he was letting Pippen run the offense and Scottie did not disappoint. His length, vision, and decision making made the Bulls triangle offensive sets almost perfectly executed every time. This enabled the team to build the chemistry in order to win multiple championships.

 

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Basketball IQ

With his awesome defensive capabilities and playmaking abilities, it’s pretty obvious that Scottie’s basketball IQ is off the charts. He knows what play to make, when to pass, and where to place himself all throughout the course of the game. With this, MJ does not have to shoulder the burden of carrying the Bulls throughout the regular season and playoffs, as Pippen is the type of help that any legend would want to have. He is a lot of times the coach inside the court, as Phil Jackson trusts him with guiding the team because of his intelligence.

 

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Work Ethic

Pippen did not become one of the all-time greats due to natural talent, he became one of the greatest players ever due to his hard working nature. One of the things that he and Michael Jordan have in common is there drive to be the best that they can be. You can see their intensity and seriousness during practices. When the season starts, you could see that Pippen has always kept himself in game shape so as to prepare his body for the punishing regular season.

 

final-words

While Pippen was a great player, he is after all named as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, the fact that he was not able to lead a team of his own to greater heights has somewhat diminished his legacy. Not that his legacy is anything to laugh about, but playing with the greatest basketball of all time during the peak of your career will naturally convince people that he was great because of Jordan. Basketball purists, however, has recognized Pippen as a great player on his own.

Player Focus – Larry Bird

Larry Bird is known as one of the greatest players ever, and rightfully so. MVP awards and multiple championship have cemented his place as one of the all-time greats. He is even part of the era that resurrected the NBA and granted the league the opportunity to be once again relevant. His battles against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers are considered one of the most epic games ever, with their rivalry being arguably the most well known in basketball history. Today we shall take a closer look at Bird’s game at why he’s aptly called Larry “Legend”.

scoring

Scoring

Bird may not be the fastest or highest jumper, but he certainly knows how to put the ball through the hoop. He can score from almost anywhere on the court, from inside and outside. He can play inside the paint with an array of post moves which he uses combined with his excellent foot work and strong body. From the outside, he has a smooth jumper which he can drill from almost anywhere. He is one of the deadliest scorers ever, especially when the game is on the line, a situation which he thrives on.

 

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Intelligence

Larry Bird not only uses his body to help his team win, but also his mind. He has an uncanny ability of accurately predicting the play as it unfolds. This extraordinary anticipation gives Larry Legend an advantage that few players are afforded. He not only does this on offense, but on defense as well. While he is not known as a great one on one defender, he is an excellent help defender and often comes out of nowhere to force a turnover.

 

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Basketball IQ

Perhaps only matched by Magic Johnson during their time together in the league, Bird’s basketball IQ is off the charts. This is one of the reasons why most people want to play with him. He not only understands what needs to be done on the court during every play, but he also understands what his teammates should do. He sets them up for open shots and sometimes he’s set himself up to be open in order to bail out the play. This is also one of the reasons why he was so successful when he became the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, where they almost beat the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the 1997 season, but came short in the grueling series which reached 7 games.

 

passing

Passing

On the offensive end, it’s not only his scoring that you need to watch out for but his passing as well. Just as we just talked about his basketball IQ, it’s because of this that he is able to make the perfect pass and set up his team mates. He is not as great as say, Magic Johnson, but he knows when and where to pass the ball to his team mates. This enables him to make his teammates better players than they should be, truly a mark of an all-time great.

 

mindset

Mindset

With a player like Larry Bird, you can’t judge him with his basketball play alone, you have to include the mental aspect of the game, and in this, only a few can match him. Sure, he can do almost everything on the court, but it’s his mental toughness and mindset that sets him apart from the competition. He could trash talk his way into another player’s mind and beat him even before the game has begun. He also has a cast-iron will which does not allow him to accept failure against all opponents, whether it’s an opposing team’s 12th man, or other superstars.

 

final-words

Larry Bird is such a generational talent that you will struggle to find someone that has a similar game. Dirk Nowitzki has been compared to him sometimes, but it is mainly due to their similar size and shooting range. Bird can do it all in the basketball court, offense or defense. His basketball knowledge knows no bounds and his competitiveness what basketball players want to find with their leader. Magic Johnson said it best, there will never be another Larry Bird.

Player Focus – Dennis Rodman

One of the most controversial athletes of all-time, Dennis Rodman has been an enigma both on and off the court. While he is more known because of his off court antics than his basketball skills, he is considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. He is unique in that while he does not have the talent to score baskets in bunches, he still impacts the game in other ways that help his team win. Let’s take a look at what makes The Worm one of the best basketball players ever.

defense Defense

While Rodman is a bit challenged on the offensive end of the game, he more than makes it up for it with his excellent defense. He excels at both team defense, and one on one situations. What’s more remarkable is his uncanny ability to defend virtually any position. He is fast enough to defend guards and strong enough to defend big men. Perhaps one of his most popular display of defensive ability was when he guarded Shaquille O’Neal. Despite weighing about almost 100 lbs. less, he more than carried his own and did a great job in defending Shaq.

 

rebounding

Rebounding

The most well-known aspect of Rodman’s game is his rebounding. He once led the league in rebounding for seven straight seasons. Imagine him doing that while only standing at 6’8″, battling towering centers and power forwards every night. He does t with his almost flawless timing and amazing athleticism and stamina. His 2nd jump is just as high as his 1st jump, giving him the advantage when relentlessly chasing rebounds.

 

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Athleticism

The main reason that The Worm has dominated games with his rebounding and defense is his unbelievable athleticism. We’re not talking about jumping ability or strength, but speed and quickness. His vertical leap is not that high, but he can jump consecutive times with almost the same height. His speed has given him the ability to defend small and fast guards while his quickness allows him to get to the ball first in rebounding and loose ball situations. He is also a workhorse at the gym as his conditioning has always been top notch. Nobody has ever seen Rodman exhausted while playing.

 

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Basketball IQ

Another underrated skill of Rodman’s is his superior basketball IQ. Due to his off court antics and bizarre behavior, one would not think of Rodman as a highly intelligent human being. Surprisingly, he is, at least basketball wise. He has studied the game thoroughly and knows what to do in any given situation. He understands his limitations and tries to help his team win to the best of his abilities.

 

athleticism

Rodman may not have the talent for scoring as some of his peers, nor even the offensive skills, but he has more than made up for this with his rebounding, defense, basketball iq, and willingness to sacrifice his body each and every night. Probably the most amazing thing about him is that despite all the partying off the court, he still has the energy to give 100% every game without fail. This work ethic is why Rodman is one of the greatest payers to ever play the game.

Player Focus – Charles Barkley

One of the most dynamic players to ever lace it up, Charles Barkley is one of the most popular figures to come out of the NBA. He is known not only for his talents on the court, but also his personality off of it. There has been a lot of negative press resulting from his off court antics, but this has not deterred his accomplishments on the court. Let us take a look at what makes The Round Mound of Rebound one of the most feared competitors in history.

 

athleticism Athleticism

One of the most known knocks against Sir Charles has been his conditioning. Ever since he came in to the league, he has been having problems with staying slim. However, this has not affected his unbelievable athleticism which he has used to his advantage. Standing at a mere 6’4″ and weighing close to 300 lbs., he surprisingly plays the power forward position, where almost every opponent towers over him but his superior jumping ability, strength, and quickness has enabled him to punish everyone who plays against him.

 

offense

Offense

From inside to outside, Sir Charles can do it all on the offensive end of the game. He can post up, drive, and drain jump shots. The only thing missing from his arsenal is a reliable 3 point shot. Posting up means bodying up anyone who guards him. They might think that they can stop him due to his height, but he more than makes up for it with his strength and variety of moves inside. He can also penetrate and score at will in the open court. This makes him almost impossible to guard.

 

rebounding

Rebounding

Despite being one of the shortest power forwards in the league, Barkley has an amazing ability to get rebounds even when facing against towering power forwards and centers. Averaging double digits in rebounding for his career, he has an uncanny ability of getting rebounds even if the paint is packed full. Combining his strength and jumping ability with his knack for knowing where the ball would end up, Chuck has been among the league leaders in rebounds every year. Even when most of his athleticism has left him later in his career, he was still able to average double digits in rebounding.

 

clutch

Clutch

A lot can be said about Chuck and his relative laziness when it comes to getting in shape, but when the game comes down to the wire, you could be sure that he would demand the ball and take it upon himself to win the game. He understands that it’s ultimately the stars’ responsibility to carry their teams, and he has never shied away from attempting to seal the game using his judgement and abilities.

 

final

With countless accolades he has gotten throughout his career such as All-Star selections, All-NBA selections, MVP award, the only thing missing in his resume is a championship. He came close once but unfortunately he faced the G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan, preventing him from winning a championship. Despite this, he is still considered as one of the greatest NBA players the world has ever seen. With the way the game is being played today, there is also a good chance that we will never see another player that would come close to Charles Barkley.

Player Focus – Kevin Durant

One of the most known basketball stars presently, Kevin Durant is one of the most dynamic scorers we have seen in league history. His jump shots and penetrating ability make him one of the most feared scorers in the NBA today. Together with Russell Westbrook, they made the Oklahoma City Thunder perennial title contenders due to their talent and leadership. Today we shall take a look at the best aspects of Durant’s game and what makes him a great player.

scoringScoring

Perhaps the best known aspect of Durant’s game, his scoring arsenal has been one of the best we’ve seen in the history of the basketball. He can score both inside and outside, making him a nightmare to defend while also making his teammates a threat to score also because of the attention that he draws from the defense. He is a former scoring champion, averaging 32 points a game that season, using moves that makes the defenders shake their heads. While his shot selection certainly leaves a lot to be desired, his ability to hit them can really deflate the confidence of whoever is guarding him.

 

length

Length

Just like a player before him, Tracy McGrady, Durant poses a ton of problems to the opposition due to his height and length. If you are going to face someone who is almost 7 feet tall yet has the skills of a guard and can score anywhere on the court, how will you guard him? Put a small on him, and he will have no problems putting up a shot. If you put a big man on him, he will take him outside and shoot jumpers all day or penetrate and leave his slower man. This is a dilemma that most teams have when playing against KD.

 

leadership

Leadership

An underrated aspect of Durant is his leadership capabilities. This might be due to having a teammate that is not only talented but also a perennial MVP candidate in Russell Westbrook, but make no mistake, KD is the heart and soul of the OKC Thunder. Of course this may not be the case today when he announced that he would sign with the Golden State Warriors, but the fact remains that he has been the leader of those Thunder teams that advanced deep in the playoffs and even reached the finals once.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a dunk in front of Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

There may be flaws in his game and his defense most of the times leaves a lot to be desired, but Kevin Durant is still one of the best players in the NBA today. He is just a couple of seasons removed from winning the MVP and he is still very young, so he still has a lot of years to dominate the league, especially scoring wise. However, due to his move to Golden State, we may see a drop in his production but this may be a blessing in disguise, as he will have more room to improve other aspects of his game to be a more complete player.

Player Focus – LeBron James

Ever since the first time he laced his shoes for an NBA game, LeBron James has been expected to perform at a high level, and he has more than lived up to the hype. Even before stepping in the NBA, almost every basketball fan knew who he was and expected him to be an all-time great when all is said and done.

 

Entering the league at 18 years old, these expectations were unbelievably difficult to answer and honestly almost impossible to face, but LBJ has proven that he has the mettle to face anything head-on. Let us take a look at what make his game unique and great.

Miami Heat forward LeBron James goes in for a dunk against Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore during the first quarter at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

 

Athleticism

At the time he first came in the league, his athleticism was definitely unheard of. Standing at 6’9″, nobody ran as fast and jumped as high as him. These were factors as to why there was no doubt that he would be the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft. Later n his career, he would add to his strength also, which makes him almost unstoppable in the open court. His offhand is also amazing as he could dribble and finish with either hand, making him a nightmare to guard.

 

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Court awareness

Due to his height, he can see almost everything that is happening on the court. While this is not really ground breaking, what he does with what he sees is what makes LBJ a very special player. Combining his court vision with his point guard skills, he sees plays unfolding before anyone does and can make a decision on what to do that will result in either a basket or a defensive stop. On offense, he can find the open man or make a pass that will result in someone else finding a better shot. On defense, he can see the play of the opposing team and either instruct his teammates on what to do or he can do it himself.

 

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Unselfishness

Despite being the most talented guy on the roster, or the league for that matter, and having the skills to score at will almost anytime, James has always been an unselfish player. He would almost always find the open man instead of taking a challenged shot. This is because he understands that scoring all the points will not exactly translate to wins. Scoring in bunches all by yourself may keep your team in the game, but this will kill chemistry and ball movement, 2 aspects of the game that are very important if you want to win a championship.

 

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Passing

The main reason that he has been compared to the great Magic Johnson countless times, is because of his passing ability. Being the same height as Magic, he is also great at setting up his teammates. His passes are also not empty, which results in assists but not benefiting the team chemistry. LeBron is willing to make the pass that may not directly result in the bucket and these are the passes that really develops chemistry within the team, as it will involve most of the team, as opposed to passes that involves on two or three players at a time.

 

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Leadership

Wherever James goes, his teams have always been contenders. The reason is not only because of his talent, but also his leadership skills. He has the charisma and influence that brings out the best in his teammates and makes them want to win. His skills also put them in a favorable spot more often than not, that is how good he is. He has taken credit for wins and losses which makes his team respect him as their leader. They know that he probably has more knowledge in basketball than them and his willingness to share this results in team chemistry that is required in championship material teams.

 

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Looking at all of these, there is no doubt that LBJ is one of the greatest players of all time and is arguably the best today. He has everything from talent, athleticism, and intangibles that every great player has. His MVPs, All-Star selections, All-NBA Selections, and championships make it hard to argue this point. While he has not surpassed the greatest ever, he is still in a league of his own in his achievements. What makes all of these amazing is the fact that he was hyped before even playing a single game which means there is pressure in his every move, and he has lived up to this hype while managing the expectations thrown at him.

Player Focus – Tim Duncan

Today we will take a look at one of the greatest players ever, Tim Duncan. While some will say that his true position is a 5, he has been considered as the greatest power forward ever by many basketball fanatics. This is because he still played a good chunk of his career as San Antonio’s starting 4 and it just happened that the league was in a transition period after that which made the Spurs change their identity along with Duncan’s. We will take a look at the factors that make him great.

Tim-Duncan-Nike-Air-Foamposite-Pro-630x554Fundamentals

Everyone knows who the “Big Fundamental” is, Tim Duncan. He was given this nickname because of how fundamentally sound his game is. He is not as athletic as some of his peers, but he still is the best at his position despite this limitation. This is because of his mastery of the basics which gives him the mental advantage every time he goes up against the more athletic players in the league. From his post moves, passing, off-ball movement, you could see that he knows what he has to do every time and more often than not, this results in something that is favorable for the Spurs.

 

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Post play

While he is not as athletic as some of his opponents, Duncan’s play at the post has been one of the best in his prime. With his impressive footwork and steady moves, opponents always have a hard time anticipating his moves down low. Another thing that helps is his incredible length, which also requires his opponents to make uncomfortable moves just to challenge his shots. Lastly, what makes defending Duncan at the post a nightmare is his passing skills. His assist numbers are not that high as compared to someone like Kevin Garnett, but make no mistake, he is a better passer than him because his passes are not only targeted to the open guy, but also to the guys who are in position to make the pass to the one who is open.

 

of the San Antonio Spurs of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs on May 27, 2008 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Defense

Perhaps the most important aspect of Duncan’s game, especially during his late years, is his defense. Anchoring the Spurs’ defense for virtually his whole career, it has resulted in multiple championships. Duncan may not be athletic, but his length has posed problems for the opposition. He may not be a great one on one defender compared to say, a Rasheed Wallace, but his overall team defense more than makes up for it. His shot blocking has been an underrated skill of his as he does it with smart timing, instead of relying on his hops.

 

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Unselfishness

Tim’s unselfishness has been on display since the day he came into the league, both on and off the court. As a rookie, he shared the limelight with fellow hall of famer David Robinson and it wasn’t until Robinson himself handed over the reins of the team did Duncan took the team on his shoulders. He does not care about individual awards and stats, as seen with his numbers which are not that eye-popping compared to the team stats, where wins are the determining factor of greatness. Later in his career, he has been taking pay cuts so that the Spurs could sign up young talent and the result is that San Antonio has managed to contend and even win another championship last 2014.

 

San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan (21_ talks with teammates during a timeout during the first quarter of Game 1 of an  NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Leadership

Another facet of Tim that has been mostly under the radar is his leadership. This is because you don’t see him talking all the time on the court and being overly assertive with his teammates. However you could tell that his teammates look up to him and will follow his lead just by their body language. Duncan has proven himself as a winner and all-time great which. In effect, makes other players respect him, both as a person and a basketball player.

 

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It’s true that his prime has been over for a while and that these past few years, his game has significantly regressed compared to his peak, but he is still an integral part of the Spurs. His 5 championship rings, as well as MVP trophies, will mean a lot to his teammates, especially the young ones, as they should pick his brain and gain knowledge while he is still playing. We may be nearing the end of the Duncan era and it has been a pleasure to watch the greatest power forward ever from the beginning of his career, until the end.