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Comparing Tim Duncan to other big men

Spurs just won the 2014 NBA Finals!! and they beat their opponents (the Miami Heat) by the largest combined margin in NBA history: 70 points. Pure dominance.

The greatest power forward of all time
The greatest power forward of all time

This is Tim Duncan’s 5th ring, and he’s still playing at a high level at 38 years old! Let’s look at some other players who have played for a long time and see how Duncan matches up (I’m using 37 as the threshold age here which was Wilt’s age when he retired):

Name FG% PPG RPG APG Age Year
Tim Duncan 0.502 17.8 9.9 2.7 37 2013
Kareem Abdul Jabbar 0.578 21.5 7.3 2.6 37 1984
Karl Malone 0.509 25.5 9.5 3.7 37 2000
Wilt Chamberlain 0.727 13.2 18.6 4.5 37 1973
Hakeem Olajuwon 0.458 10.3 6.2 1.4 37 2000
David Robinson 0.507 12.2 8.3 1.2 37 2002
Patrick Ewing 0.435 17.3 9.9 1.1 37 1999
Shaquille O’Neal 0.609 17.8 8.4 1.7 37 2009
Moses Malone 0.474 15.6 9.1 1.1 37 1992
Charles Barkley 0.477 14.5 10.5 3.2 37 2000
Robert Parish 0.580 15.7 10.1 1.3 37 1990
Elvin Hayes 0.472 16.1 9.1 1.8 37 1982
Artis Gilmore 0.619 16.7 8.5 1.4 37 1986
Kevin Garnett 0.496 14.8 7.8 1.1 37 2013

As you can see from this table, Wilt Chamberlain was an absolute beast, even in his late years! Aside from that, you can see why Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Karl Malone became the NBA’s all time leading scorer, and 2nd leading scorer respectively – they were putting up 20+ points when they were 37 years old! Tim Duncan actually compares quite favorably to Patrick Ewing when they were about the same age – though Duncan is a much better shooter. He is clearly up there when compared to other long lived big men.

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Top 15 Greatest NBA Teams of all time

Continuing on from where I left off, even more important than individual players, is the team as a whole. After all, a team with no superstars but plays cohesively (2013 Nuggets) will beat a team with superstars that don’t play cohesively (see 2013 Lakers as an example). But ideally, a dominant team is one that features superstars and plays cohesively (2013 Heat). So here’s my top 15 ranking of the greatest and most dominant NBA teams ever, featuring some of the greatest legends in the NBA. I’ve noted all their winning percentages (including playoffs as each team obviously won a championship), and bolded the players that are Hall of Famers.

1. 1996 Chicago Bulls
Record (regular season): 72-10
Record (playoffs): 15-3
Head Coach: Phil Jackson
Lineup: Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley
Finals MVP: Michael Jordan

Notes: They are considered the greatest NBA team, having a record of 72-10 during the regular season, and best record overall of any team in NBA history.

2. 1972 Los Angeles Lakers
Record (regular season): 69-13
Record (playoffs): 12-3
Head Coach: Bill Sharman
Lineup: Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, Jim McMillan, Happy Hairston, Wilt Chamberlain
Finals MVP: Wilt Chamberlain

Notes: They have a currently unbeaten record of 33-game winning streak during the regular season.

3. 1997 Chicago Bulls
Record (regular season): 69-13
Record (playoffs): 15-4
Head Coach: Phil Jackson
Lineup: Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley
Finals MVP: Michael Jordan

4. 1967 Philadelphia 76ers
Record (regular season): 68-13
Record (playoffs): 8-4
Head Coach: Alex Hannum
Lineup: Wilt Chamberlain, Luke Jackson, Chet Walker, Hal Greer, Wali Jones
Finals MVP: Wilt Chamberlain

5. 1986 Boston Celtics
Record (regular season): 67-15
Record (playoffs): 12-3
Head Coach: K.C Jones
Lineup: Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton
Finals MVP: Larry Bird

6. 1971 Milwaukee Bucks
Record (regular season): 66-16
Record (playoffs): 12-2
Head Coach: Larry Costello
Lineup: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Greg Smith, Bob Dandridge, John McGlocklin, Oscar Robertson
Finals MVP: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

7. 1983 Philadelphia 76ers
Record (regular season): 65-17
Record (playoffs): 12-1
Head Coach: Billy Cunningham
Lineup: Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Julius Erving, Marc Iavaroni, Moses Malone
Finals MVP: Moses Malone

8. 1987 Los Angeles Lakers
Record (regular season): 65-17
Record (playoffs): 15-3
Head Coach: Pat Riley
Lineup: Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, A.C. Green, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Finals MVP: Magic Johnson

9. 2000 Los Angeles Lakers
Record (regular season): 67-15
Record (playoffs): 15-8
Head Coach: Phil Jackson
Lineup: A.C Green, Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Rice, Kobe Bryant, Ron Harper
Finals MVP: Shaquille O’Neal

10. 2013 Miami Heat
Record (regular season): 66-16
Record (playoffs): 16-7
Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Lineup: Mario Chalmers, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen
Finals MVP: LeBron James

11. 2008 Boston Celtics
Record (regular season): 66-16
Record (playoffs): 16-10
Head Coach: Doc Rivers
Lineup: Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo
Finals MVP: Paul Pierce

12. 1965 Boston Celtics
Record (regular season): 62-18
Record (playoffs): 8-4
Head Coach: Red Auerbach
Lineup: Bill Russell, Satch Sanders, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones, K.C Jones, John Havlicek
Finals MVP: Bill Russell

13. 1985 Los Angeles Lakers
Record (regular season): 62-20
Record (playoffs): 15-4
Head Coach: Pat Riley
Lineup: Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob McAdoo
Finals MVP: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

14. 1970 New York Knicks
Record (regular season): 60-22
Record (playoffs): 12-7
Head Coach: Red Holzman
Lineup: Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley, Dick Barnett, Walt Frazier
Finals MVP: Willis Reed

15. 2003 San Antonio Spurs
Record (regular season): 60-22
Record (playoffs): 16-8
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich
Lineup: David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, Stephen Jackson, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili
Finals MVP: Tim Duncan