Top 50 NBA Players: #7-8 Tim Duncan and Tony Parker

Tim Duncan
Resume: 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 blocks (3rd in league), 30.1 minutes, 50% FG, and 82% FT (career best)… Team record in games played: 50-19 (8-5 without)… Playoffs: 18.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 35.0 minutes, 47% FG, 81% FT, 15-6 record… All-Star, 7th in MVP Voting, 2nd Team All-Defense, 1st Team All-NBA

Tony Parker
Resume: 20.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists (6th in league), 32.9 minutes, 52% FG, 35% 3PT, and 85% FT (career best)… Team record in games played: 47-19 (11-5 without)… Playoffs: 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.0 assists (career best), 1.1 steals, 36.4 minutes, 46% FG, 36% 3PT, 78% FT, 15-6 record… All-Star, 6th in MVP Voting, 2nd Team All-NBA

I’ve been doing research for this list and writing about it for over two months and frankly, I’m worn down. I’m more than ready to take a few weeks to recharge my battery and just watch basketball rather than just write about it. So for my piece on Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, I turned to my cousin Gianni.

May 21, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) and guard Tony Parker (9) react against the Memphis Grizzlies during overtime in game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT

Gi’s credentials look something like this: Aside from my friend Collin who can dunk a basketball, Gi comes closer to dunking than any other close friend or relative that I know… He’s an extremely bright kid and he knows so much about basketball that sometimes when we’re talking I feel like my wealth of knowledge is inferior to his. This is why he’s going to be a frequent guest when I start doing podcasts again… He’s the only San Antonio Spurs fan I know, and on top of that, he’s been a fan of the team since Tim Duncan entered the NBA. If there is anyone who is qualified to discuss Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, it’s him… And finally, when I was going over the order of my list back in August, I asked Gi who he found more valuable to the Spurs, and who he would rather have on the court playing for him throughout the season and in a game with his life on the line. He gave me his answer then in person, and I recently went back to him to get it in written form. Here it is:

Alright here is why I’d choose Duncan over Parker.

1. Duncan makes everyone on the roster better. I’ll call this the Duncan/Pop factor. The culture the two have created in San Antonio since Duncan’s arrival has led to one of the most winningest decades and a half by a professional sports franchise.  If it were not for the Duncan/Pop factor, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, etc., would likely not be the players they are today.  Duncan will not be the most talented player on the team this upcoming season (nor the second most talented thanks to the emergence of Kawhi Leonard); however, because Duncan buys into Popovich’s coaching style (know your role and be prepared to take some harsh criticism) it forces every other player on the team to buy into it, hence the Duncan/Pop factor.  While Parker puts up better stats and affects more of what happens on the court during the game, everyone on the team, including Parker himself, is able to perform better because of the culture Duncan and Pop have created in San Antonio.

2. Defense. Duncan was 3rd in the league in blocks, 10th in total rebounds and 7th in defensive rebounds.  More importantly, the Spurs defense revolves around Duncan, while Parker on the other hand is somewhat of a defensive liability.

3. Big game performance. Duncan has shown over his career that he thrives in big moments, and he continued to prove it by his performance throughout finals last year, and especially in Games 6 and 7.  Parker, on the other hand, was utterly despicable throughout most of the series (aside from Game 5 and the fourth quarter of Game 1).  It may have been his hamstring injury hindering him, but I feel that he just was unable to handle the pressure (much like the rest of the team in Games 6 and 7 aside from Duncan and Leonard).  I told you I’d take Duncan over Parker for a game with my life on the line, and this is the main reason why.  Duncan has consistently proven he not only can handle the pressure, but performs better in the biggest of big moments. Parker has yet to do so.  Duncan will likely not look the better of the two during the regular season, or even throughout most of the playoffs, but if the Spurs find themselves in a tough series, or back in the NBA Finals again, I can guarantee you one thing, and that is that Tim Duncan have an outstanding performance.