ESPN is continuing its countdown of the top 74 players in NBA history. Yesterday Spurs legends Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and George Gervin (among others) made the 74-41 list, and today ESPN has released 40-11. Two notable Spurs made the top 25: one who should not be named but he will because the Spurs deserve the most credit for his rise, and the other is the most Admirable of them all.
25. Kawhi Leonard
18.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.4 3s PG
Leonard has already played nine seasons, but it feels like he’s just getting going. Leonard won his first championship and Finals MVP with the Spurs in 2014, but that was alongside Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. He showed last season he can carry an entire franchise, leading the Raptors to their first championship. And when the stakes are at their highest, Leonard rises to the challenge, whether it’s his elite defense, Game 7-clinching buzzer-beater against Philadelphia, or winning a second Finals MVP at the expense of the Warriors’ dynasty.
24. David Robinson
1989-2003 San Antonio Spurs
21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 3.0 BPG
“The Admiral” didn’t make his NBA debut until he was 24, two years after being the top pick in the draft, due to his service commitment to the Navy. He earned All-Star appearances in his first six seasons, winning Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and MVP honors, as well as rebounding, blocked shots and scoring titles during that span. Back and foot injuries forced Robinson to miss almost all of his eighth season — helping deliver Tim Duncan to San Antonio, a major reason why Robinson won two titles.
One other former Spur made the 40-11 list: Moses Malone (18th, 1994-95). That leaves one player we have yet to see. We all know who he is, and if nothing else he has made the Top 10. What do you think of today’s set of rankings?