Tim Duncan

Bill Russell ranks Tim Duncan ‘right up there at the top’


Five championships over a 15 year span, with his team never losing more than 50 games (save for lockout shortened seasons) — Tim Duncan has had an amazing run of greatness.

So where does that rank him among the best big man of all time? Sam Amick of the USA Today asked Celtics’ legend Bill Russell that question after the Spurs Game 5 win.

“Right up there at the top,” Russell told USA TODAY Sports.

Hard to argue that.

For me, Duncan goes down as the greatest power forward ever to play the game (even though he spent a chunk of time in his career as a center, his best play has come as a four next to David Robinson, and lately Tiago Splitter). Yes, Karl Malone is in the conversation, but I lean Duncan.

Duncan has career averages of 19.9 points a game on 50.6 percent shooting, plus 11 boards a game. He has a career offensive rating of 110, a defensive rating of 95, and a PER of 24.6. The only big man ever to put up the kind of numbers Duncan did in these playoffs at his age was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This Finals Duncan passed Kareem for most playoff games played, he passed Magic Johnson for most playoffs double-doubles. This is rarified air.

And I don’t think Duncan is done quite yet.

The Dan Patrick Show: Has Duncan surpassed Jordan as best ever?

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.