Tim Duncan quietly rode off into the sunset last Monday morning (at a safe and prudent speed as The Onion reported), announcing his retirement from the NBA after a 19-year career.
Although Duncan’s scoring numbers may not jump out at you, he was remarkably consistent throughout his career, averaging at least 15 points per game in 16 of his 19 seasons in the NBA. The Big Fundamental is also known as an efficient defender, having been named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team eight times. In addition to Duncan’s well-rounded stats, he also helped lead the Spurs to five championships and owns a career winning percentage of 71.9 percent.
While many consider Duncan to be the greatest power forward of all-time, let’s take a look and see how Timmy’s historic numbers compare to some of other greats.
First up, Kevin Garnett
While Garnett, 40, is now seemingly the equivalent of a player-coach, helping mentor the young Timberwolves roster while still playing in a limited capacity, he was once arguably one of the greatest power forwards of all-time, averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds for nine consecutive seasons. Garnett is also the greatest defender on this list, having been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times and winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2008.
Next : Dirk Nowitzki
Unlike Garnett, who is also still active in the NBA, Nowitzki is still producing at a remarkably high rate for his age. While his rebound numbers aren’t near the other players on this list, he has never averaged 10 rebounds in a season, the productive German scorer has averaged at least 17 points in every season since his rookie year, and is also a career 38.1 percent three-point shooter.
Having played during the “Michael Jordan Era” and failing to win a championship, Barkley’s greatness is often overlooked. Sir Charles, however, dominated on the court, averaging a double-double in every season except for his rookie year. Barkley was one of four players to record more than 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists when he retired in 2000.
Last but not least, Karl Malone
Outside of Duncan, The Mailman has the strongest case to lay claim to the title of “Greatest Power Forward in History.” Malone averaged six points per game more than Duncan, and posted a higher field-goal and free-throw percentage. Despite making the playoffs in each of his 19 seasons, Malone was never able to get over the hump and win a championship — the seemingly one knock on Malone’s historic career.