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

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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?