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Duncan Looking for Fifth NBA Title and a Place in History

Tim Duncan the veteran forward for the San Antonio Spurs is attempting to win his 5th NBA Title, which would help place him in a league of his own as his generation’s best star.

He gets that chance starting Thursday when the Spurs host the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their best of seven NBA Finals series.

Duncan has established himself as one of basketball’s all-time best. The thought he still has something remaining to achieve is only because he has not walked away from his illustrious career.

Had Duncan walked away after losing last season, no one would have thought anything less of the superstar for the Spurs.

NBA titles carry great significance when defining a player. Michael Jordan for example is in a class of his own. Jordan won championships with the Bulls, put up big numbers and dominated the game over a long period.

The question of today however is who is the face of the generation that follows Jordan.

A quick response would be Kobe Bryant the winner of five NBA championships and one of the game’s best scorers.

Nevertheless, the argument can be made that San Antonio’s Duncan is the truer bridge between Jordan and the current generation’s star LeBron James.

Some fans, especially those of Bryant will not even give that a second thought. However, they must realize just how great Duncan really is.

Over his career, Duncan has some good numbers for the regular season. He has a scoring average of 19.9 points per game, with 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, since joining the NBA.

The former Wake Forest star had the most productive years of his career prior to his long-time teammates Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker joining the Spurs.

In 2002 as well as 2003, he was the NBA MVP. In 2002, he had a scoring average of 25.5 point per game, while grabbing 12.7 boards, handing out 3.7 assists and blocking 2.5 shots per game.

Duncan’s playoff numbers are as impressive. He ranks third in rebounds during his career in the postseason trailing just two greats Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Blocks were not recorded in Chamberlain and Russell’s day, so Duncan is No. 1 in that postseason stat ahead of the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Duncan is No. 7 in all-time player efficiency in the playoffs with a 24.69 ranking, while Kobe is just No. 23 on that list.

Duncan is fifth in all time scoring in the postseason. He trails the likes of Kareem, Jordan, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Duncan leads by example, but is never too shy to say his piece and let his teammates know what they need to do on the court.

He is also very flexible. He has learned to adapt and to defer. As the NBA has changed to an outside game away from the paint area, so did San Antonio.

He has given Ginobili and Parker the chance to become the prominent scorers on the club. A lesser star would have demanded more touches of the ball, putting his interests before those of his team.

However, that is not Duncan’s demeanor or style.

While many would take Bryant as this generation’s biggest star, this writer will give that crown to Duncan, if the Spurs win the NBA Finals this year.

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