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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Greatest Power Forwards of All-Time

It is interesting to debate whether or not Kobe Bryant should win the MVP and to compare his performances to those of Michael Jordan--but one of Bryant's contemporaries is quietly building a case to be considered the greatest player ever at his position: Tim Duncan.

Duncan turns 31 on April 25, so he likely will be performing at a high level for several more seasons, and his accomplishments already equal or surpass those of the great power forwards from previous eras. Duncan has led the Spurs to three titles, winning the Finals MVP each time. He also has claimed two regular season MVPs, been selected to the All-NBA First Team eight times and has made the All-Defensive Team every season of his career.

My newest NBCSports.com article compares Duncan to power forwards who are already in the Hall of Fame and/or earned selection to the NBA's 50 Greatest Players List:

The Greatest Power Forwards of All-Time

posted by David Friedman @ 5:27 PM

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2 Comments:

At Friday, April 13, 2007 6:05:00 AM, Blogger vednam said...

I certainly think Duncan has surpassed every other power forward, both from an accomplishment perspective as well as a "skill" perspective.

But should Duncan even be considered a power forward? He seems to play just like a center, and he has often been bigger than the starting center on his own team (basically since Robinson retired). Yes, he is technically a power forward, but I'm wondering if putting him there is unfair in this discussion. If Duncan were to be considered a center, I'd put him after Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Russell, around Olajuwon and Moses Malone territory.

 
At Friday, April 13, 2007 6:32:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Certainly when Duncan played alongside Robinson he was a PF. Since then, the Spurs have generally had another seven footer who jumped center and usually guarded the other team's center. Nesterovic could hardly be considered a PF, nor could Mohammed. Duncan's ability to guard other centers--even Shaq at times--adds to his legacy, in my opinion, because not every great PF could do that. When Duncan has been voted onto All-NBA Teams he has been selected as a power forward.

With some players there is not a hard and fast definition of which position they played. McAdoo played a lot of power forward but he won his scoring titles and MVP as a mobile center, which is why I did not include him in this article. Baylor rebounded like a power forward but spent much of his career alongside LaRusso, who was clearly the team's power forward. I've seen Nowitzki listed as a PF-C at times, but he has spent most of his career at PF.

On a related subject, I really hope that this year's All-NBA First Team is Dirk, Duncan, LeBron, Kobe and Nash, with either Dirk or Duncan called a center, because those are clearly the five best players in the league. Shaq and Yao did not play in enough games to merit First Team honors this year.

 

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