With the responsibilities of being a parent and working a full-time job, I rarely get the opportunity to keep up with the sports news on my days off. However, an interesting argument caught my eye about two weeks ago on ESPN’s First Take. One of the topics that was discussed was which big man would the panelists prefer to have on their team for this year only – Blake Griffin or Tim Duncan? While Griffin may be the answer that rushes to the mind first, I will offer a brief comparison of the two and show why Duncan should not be dismissed so easily.
Let’s start with Blake Griffin. He is a heck of a talent and presents match-up problems for just about any person who guards him. Griffin is capable of putting up a double-double on a nightly basis and is a great finisher around the rim. However, the one limitation in Griffin’s game is he has yet to develop a jump shot. So, if an opponent is able to stay in front of him and force him to take perimeter shots, it limits some of his overall effectiveness. Once Griffin becomes a more versatile player, he will definitely be one of the best big men the league has ever seen.
Tim Duncan may be in the twilight of his career, but the guy knows how to win. He has four titles and is still a presence offensively and on the glass as well. Most big men are capable of scoring around the basket, but Duncan also has a nice mid-range game as well and can hit the bank shot with the best of them. In addition to that, I would also give Duncan the edge in crunch time because he has hit a number of game-winning shots for the San Antonio Spurs during his career. There is no mistaking the importance of Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and even Bruce Bowen, but if there was no Tim Duncan on the roster, the Spurs would not have won four titles over the past 14 years.
If this discussion was about which player would I prefer to have on my team over the next few years, the answer is definitely Blake Griffin because he is the younger player. However, if a championship was on the line today and I had to decide which of these players I want to anchor my team in the late stages of the game, Tim Duncan is my choice hands down.