The San Antonio Spurs have established themselves as a franchise of excellence over the past three decades, more so especially over the last 20 years. Winning four championships in the span of nine years and squeezing out another in 2014, the Spurs dynasty is definitely up there among the best in NBA history.
Certainly, all of San Antonio’s title teams featured legendary players. Here are the 5 greatest Spurs players of all time.
5. George Gervin
George “The Ice Man Gervin is one of the best scoring two-guards in NBA history. Boasting career averages of 25.1 points through both the NBA and ABA, Gervin showcased a silky smooth game that featured the patented “finger roll” in wide arsenal of moves.
With the Spurs, Gervin averaged 26.3 points (including the ABA) while shooting 50.8 percent. The Ice Man earned four scoring titles in the NBA, tied for third most in NBA history along with Kevin Durant and Allen Iverson and trailing just Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. He also has the fourth best win shares and 11 All-Star appearances with the Texas-based franchise.
Unfortunately, Gervin is the only player on this list that did not win a championship with San Antonio. Nonetheless, he did make three trips to the conference finals in a span of five seasons.
4. Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili is one of the most beloved Spurs in franchise history. The Argentinian shooting guard is the poster boy for players who sacrificed their individual accolades for the sake of winning.
Entering the league as a mysterious 25-year old that led Argentina to the gold medal in 2004, Ginobili did not waste time in becoming an impact player for the Spurs. Slowly, he established himself as one of the most dynamic two-guards in the league with his dare-devil drives to the basket.
Eventually, he became one of San Antonio’s franchise cornerstones. Despite being so, the 6-foot-6 lefty never pouted when Greg Popovich gave him a reserve role. In turn, he became one of the best Sixth men in the league and won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2007-08.
Certainly, Ginobili’s numbers suffered from his move to the bench, but it did not hinder him from being a key contributor for the Spurs, especially through their championship runs. Ginobili only made the All-Star team twice in his career and only notched career averages of 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists through his 16 years in the league, all with San Antonio. Nonetheless, even with those numbers, there is no doubt that the four-time NBA champion will make the Hall of Fame.
3. Tony Parker
Tony Parker is without a doubt the greatest point guard to ever don a Spurs uniform. Despite standing just 6-foot-2, Parker became a force offensively as one of the best finishers in the paint across the entire league.
Parker entered the NBA as a raw 18-year old that often got an earful from Gregg Popovich. In fact, Pop always gave Parker some tough love through his early years in the league. This certainly paid its dividends as the Frenchman eventually became one of the most consistent floor generals in the NBA.
Parker made the All-Star team six times, made the All-NBA team four times, and averaged 15.5 points in his 17 seasons with the franchise. All in all, he also won four championships with the Spurs, including the Finals MVP in 2007.
2. David Robinson
Right before their dynastic years through the 2000’s, David Robinson carried San Antonio through most of the 1990’s. Robinson quickly established himself as one of the best centers in the league through that decade and this came at a time when the class of big men in the NBA was arguably at its highest.
The former no. 1 overall pick was a force on both ends of the floor, boasting career averages of 21.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks through his 14 year career.
His individual accolades include Rookie of the Year in 1989-90, Defensive Player of the Year in 1991-92, and Most Valuable Player in 1994-95. Unfortunately, Robinson never got to the mountaintop as the undisputed face of the franchise. He did lead the Spurs to seven straight playoff appearances from 1990 to 1996, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
Luckily, the Spurs hit the jackpot in the 1997 draft lottery. They used their first overall pick to select the no. 1 player on this list, who ultimately helped Robinson finish his career two NBA championships.
1. Tim Duncan
Is there even any doubt who would top this list? Tim Duncan is almost synonymous to the Spurs at this point.
Duncan is widely considered as the greatest power forward of all time. Ever since the Spurs drafted the Wake Forest standout in 1997, the franchise’s fortunes instantly turned for the better. They became championship favorites for nearly every season with Duncan anchoring their team on both ends of the floor.
Duncan is also known as one of the most fundamentally sound players of all time. He featured an all-around offensive game to go along with his incredibly high basketball IQ. Likewise, Duncan became the anchor of Gregg Popovich’s top-notch defense. Despite his reserved personality, the 15-time All-Star was an absolute killer on the court.
The two-time league MVP became the driving force of all their five NBA championships, including their first in 1999 when he was just a sophomore, and their most recent one in 2014 with Duncan as a 37-year old. In 19 seasons with the Spurs, Duncan turned in averages of 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.2 blocks. Out of Duncan’s five titles, he won Finals MVP in three of them, easily the most in franchise history.