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02 August 2005

#2. Tim Duncan

Position: PF / C
Ht / Wt: 6'-11" / 260
Age: 29
Fun Fact: Tim's wife had a baby girl soon after game 7 of the NBA finals. It's their first child. I think they named her Sydney, or maybe it was Parker Duncan Ginobili Duncan.

The Big Fundamental. Groundhog Day. The Cornerstone. Rookie of the Year. Two time league MVP. Three time NBA Finals MVP. One time NBA All Star Game MVP. The only significant qualitative award he has not won is Defensive Player of the Year. Which is extremely comical considering he is quite simply, without a doubt, quite frankly, unequivocally the most efficacious defensive player in the NBA.

DPOY should never, EVER (period) go to a guy under 6'-10". Look, the NBA is not a one-on-one matchup. Being a lockdown perimeter defender will only get you so far if you don't have somebody to funnel towards. First of all, a non-negligible part of defense is rebounding. You can run Tayshaun, Ron, Bruce, Larry and AI out there and they'll get scorched. 75% of defensive stops end with a rebound. Second of all, all great defensive teams have somebody anchoring the middle. Defending the basket. Blocking and changing shots.

Timmeh! excels at defensive rebounding and blocking shots. He's also a terrific help defender, which is what the Spurs defense is built around (and probably the most underrated aspect of what produces wins in the NBA). Rotate, rotate, rotate; he's virtually never out of position. It's quite a remarkable thing to watch.

One last thing I'll mention; he's virtually the perfect teammate. He's a team first guy who's willing to get blasted on the sideline by his coach. He doesn't draw attention to himself. He's unselfish on both ends of the court. The only quibble you can have with the guy is that he doesn't stick up for his guys as much as one would like. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is nearly irrelevant.

Now on to numero tres.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.