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A stats-based comparison of Tim and Kobe: Duncan was much better

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You might think comparing Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant would be tantamount to splitting hairs, but not according to this comprehensive look at their career numbers.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant were both NBA greats, one-of-a-kind talents that belong in the discussion of top 15 or 20 of all time -- very few dispute that. But the debate often arises over which player was the best of his generation, and it's there that many, especially Spurs and Lakers fans, differ.

Andre Snellings at Nylon Calculus took a deep dive into both players -- as well as Amar'e Stoudemire (who left the NBA this year) -- to see how all three stack up against each other, and where they rank all time.

Snellings used a variety of different statistics for comparison, including counting stats (adjusted for pace), +/-, and PER. With each comparison, the case grows stronger for the Big Fundamental's supremacy. I'll share with you the author's conclusion here, but invite you to read the entire article. It'll make you a hit when you run into any Lakers fans.

Kobe Bryant is a living legend, as probably the most popular and polarizing player of his generation. Amar'e Stoudemire did stand tall and talented as a perennial All-Star when healthy that may someday have a Hall of Fame plaque in Springfield. But of the three that hung it up this offseason, it was clearly Tim Duncan that played at the highest level. He was more individually productive in both the regular season and postseason in the box scores AND his presence correlated with more team success than either of the other two. While the Black Mamba was a monster, the Big Fundamental was even better.