Andy Bailey, the author of the article, compiled his list of legends from his “All-Time Top 10 Positional Rankings” penned earlier this month. Here’s where San Antonio’s superstars landed, and some of the writer’s commentary on said players.
45. George Gervin
”His ABA numbers across four seasons were great, especially on the boards, but this is an NBA list. Even with his first four professional campaigns omitted, the Iceman did enough to get into the top 50. And his transition—along with those of his ABA contemporaries—to the NBA helped energize the league [...] Gervin was one of the most prolific scorers basketball has ever produced. Despite only playing 10 NBA seasons, he’s 40th all-time in points scored. If you go by points per game, he rockets up to ninth.”
42. Kawhi Leonard:
”Yes, Kawhi Leonard only has eight seasons of NBA experience to his name. And he only made nine appearances in one of those seasons. But Kawhi is already one of the most accomplished postseason performers in NBA history [...] On top of the loaded playoff resume, Kawhi also has two Defensive Player of the Year wins, five All-Defensive selections, three All-NBA selections and three All-Star selections.”
37. Manu Ginobili
”To attempt to discredit Ginobili for coming off the bench is to ignore one of the 21st century’s most impactful basketball players. On top of his four NBA titles, two All-Star appearances, two top-10 MVP finishes, two All-NBA selections and 2008 Sixth Man of the Year award, Manu has one of the game’s most impressive international resumes. Long before Team USA’s recent misstep at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Argentina pulled off a shocking upset of basketball’s juggernaut at the 2004 Olympics [...] Manu deserves his spot on this list even with his NBA numbers being the only criterion. But discussing his legendary career without mentioning what he did on the world stage would be a disservice.”
12. David Robinson:
”If the list were based on nothing but numbers, David Robinson would likely be even higher. He’s fourth all-time in career box plus/minus, trailing only LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.Jordan is the lone player ahead of The Admiral in career win shares per 48 minutes, and the difference there is minuscule: .2505 to .2502. Robinson’s basic numbers paint a pretty impressive picture, as well. During his first seven years in the league, he averaged 25.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals with a 59.2 true shooting percentage [...] And unlike some of the other legends of the ‘90s, he was able to outlast His Airness and win two championships in the post-Jordan vacuum. Sure, Tim Duncan helped on that front, but Robinson deserves far more credit than he gets for those titles.”
7. Tim Duncan
”Regardless of how he’s classified, The Big Fundamental is undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Longevity is one of Duncan’s strongest points in any argument over his place in history. His career-low box plus/minus is 2.4. That gives him 19 seasons with at least 500 minutes and a 2.0-plus box plus/minus. Jason Kidd’s 18 are the second-most all-time.Bump the qualifying box plus/minus up to 3.0 and Duncan’s all-time lead increases. His 18 seasons are well ahead of the 15 posted by Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and LeBron James [...] Throw in 15 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA selections, 15 All-Defensive selections, five titles, three Finals MVPs and two league MVPs and you can see why Duncan is revered.”
What do Spurs fans think about the all-time rankings? Does anyone belong higher up the board? Were any Spurs greats left out? Who’s in your top 50?