From TSG's blog: Tim Duncan vs. Kevin Garnett



I wrote this on a message board forum back in August of this year. Enjoy. I was influenced to paste this here because I notice some of you are anti-Duncan. I welcome all RESPECTFUL/CLEAN debates (which I'm sure I'll get out of most of you. I've never had a nasty debate on here before, and I'm graciously glad.)

I’ve probably said this 3 million times, but in basketball terms and “growing as a basketball fan,” My basketball knowledge and overall IQ was helped acquired by my father, who was a Celtics fan (which I am also, as well as a Spurs fan). He (my father) taught me the fundamentals of basketball, and what went in to integrating teamwork. (AKA “white man basketball” (no, not a racial slur; just a dumb joke.)

I’ve always been a Tim Duncan fan ever since I can remember. I’ve always been a Kevin Garnett fan as well, but never at the same level as much that I’ve cheered for, for the Big Fundamental. They’re my two most favorite forwards of all-time. I don’t understand how some of you guys can get off on the “oh, Duncan has had better teammates” facet and ignore the one season that Garnett finally had success in, in 2003-2004 (team success that is).

Obviously, my choice of the better overall player is Tim Duncan. I think he’s the better basketball player alone on a higher level where no one else is. In my biased (yet factorial) opinion, he’s THE greatest power forward of all-time. He’s DEFINITELY the better leader, doesn’t use a large amount of aggression to make his point(s) made on the court with commotion, yet he’s an aggressive player at that. He may “whine” to the refs, but who doesn’t?

Duncan haters, get your heads out of your asses. It’s not like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have always been in the wing helping the Spurs fly high. The centerpiece is Tim Duncan, and has been Tim Duncan for years now. Tony Parker was selected late first round in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft. Over the course of the next few seasons, there were talks that the Spurs wanted to trade him, and acquire Jason Kidd even DURING the NBA Finals in 2003 against the New Jersey Nets. Keep in mind that Parker never got a full force on play down until 2005, and still yet he wasn’t exaggerating on his game as he is now. He didn’t have his shot yet. In 2007, he wins Finals MVP against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yet people ignore Duncan’s part to help free him up, throw that extra pass that doesn’t show up on the box score or the stats sheets, which attests to why so many morons like to say KG is the better passer when he’s not. Tim Duncan is the better passer than Kevin Garnett. Believe it. While your head is still in the clouds or still up your asses, throw assists out and watch games that Duncan plays in a little more and appreciate great basketball instead of turning it off every chance you get.
Duncan could have easily won that NBA Finals MVP. But unfortunately, the box score doesn’t go as deep enough to show the whole basketball story.

Onto Ginobili. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he was one of the last picks taken in 2002, and he became a factor on an doff (again, correct me if I’m wrong) as time went by. He never became extremely good (or “overrated” as many of you like to believe and state) until the 2004-2005 season where he was scoring points right out of his ass. Who’s help was it to happen? Tim Duncan, the Big Fundamental, freed up and created room for all of his San Antonio Spurs’ teammates. You can’t see that in the box score neither, folks. Defenses became so focused on Tim Duncan (and still are focused while keeping an eye on speedy Tony Parker) that the pass, back to Duncan, kick out, look-away passing to Ginobili, and the contact at the basket, or the 3’s he made, please attribute that to team defense that Coach Poppovich excelled in with the Spurs along with Tim Duncan’s genius play.

Parker, Ginobili, and the rest of the Spurs don’t make Tim Duncan better. Tim Duncan depicts the Spurs as making the rest of his teammates better. Kevin Garnett, on the other hand, is more like a guy that rides along the waves and scores his points. Garnett isn’t the type to hand down tips to younger teammates to help them become better players. He seems to be more like the guy that gets on the boogie board, and again, ride the waves. Remember 2003-2004, anyone? Garnett FINALLY does something. But really, I’m exaggerating. Garnett won MVP, got into the playoffs, but did he lead the team to the best record in the Western Conference? Hell no! Ever heard of Sam Cassell? Cassell, another guy that I think is the most underrated player in the NBA (I even wrote an article about him a while back (use the Troy’s Thoughts on Sports search engine), was the catalyst of that team in terms of controlling the tempo and making things happen. Garnett dominated the points by the team, and off of defensive rebounds, hustled the ball to Cassell on down the court switching around. You have to realize that Cassell’s play, and God forbid Latrell Sprewell’s (yes, he did have more of a part than you think), made a big difference in what happened that season.

In the end, they still couldn’t win a championship. Garnett has no leadership skills/abilities whatsoever. If he does, please do show me some effaced facts that I have never seen, agreed to, or actually witnessed in my life. I’ve watched tons off Spurs/T’Wolves games over the years, and the two are really on different levels with Duncan being way higher than Garnett. You all like to point out that the Spurs have the better players than the T’Wolves during Garnett’s tenure. That’s true. But did Duncan have better teammates? That’s not the case; it’s that Duncan taught his teammates to be better and gradually and in a quick amount over time with great coaching, they won NBA Finals together. Two with Robinson. Two without Robinson.

Just leave it at that, guys. Quit hating on the greatest power forward to ever grace the court onto NBA hardwood and face the facts that Garnett can’t carry Duncan’s jockstrap if he had to. One-on-one matchups? You’ll probably bring that up. But we’re talking about who’s the better player alone. I think it’s settled. The dust is clearing. The night sky is buzzing. Tim Duncan is the better player than Kevin Garnett.


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Nice article my friend. In my personal opinion I believe Garnett is a better player then Duncan, yes he doesnt have the same amount of rings then Duncan has, but if you compare their games, Garnett is better in every aspect. He's a better scorer, he's a better rebounder, he has longer range then Duncan does, he's better passer out of the double team. He's a better free throw shooter, and in my opinion I think he can carry a team more then Duncan. Now I know a lot of people will disagree with me because Duncan has more rings, but if it wasn't for Garnett the Timberwolves would be in the lottery every year.


Carry a team more than Duncan? Come on, man, that's crazy talk as we have seen what Duncan can do, and we have seen what Garnett has done. They credited KG for what in 2003? Sam Cassell never gets the true respect he deserves, and if I were him the '03-'04 season would be eating at me over the fact that he came up in the crucial junctures, while Garnett took on the scoring load and rebounding (which helped attribute to an MVP season.)

Better passer out of the double team? Well I watch 40-50+ Spurs games (regular season) last year whether it was on TV or from games that I downloaded on the internet. When Duncan controls the ball down low and he's doubled, a lot of times defenders take it right out of his hands. But as it's been displayed over the years, he's been able to cope with that weakness in his game only to find a wide open Manu Ginobili or Bruce Bowen in the corner. Gino's hype has been largely acredited to Duncan, some acredit it to "flopping," but that's another post in another time. Duncan's awareness is sheer gold. It's hard to compare Duncan and KG's abilities when they're double teamed since neither you or I have the ability to show as conclusive evidence. However, we're still debating it for what it's worth, which is cool.

I'm not going to argue KG's scoring ability. His stature is more for scoring than the way the Big Fundamental's is, so me debating that would be like a fool drinking poison. Duncan's shooting ability use to be excellent a couple of years ago; he can still shoot, but not at the same level. I will say this though, just for a mook -- Duncan's bankshot shooting is better than Garnett's, again for what it's worth, and Duncan has shotten a better FG percentage in recent years.

I'll take Duncan at defending in the post. You can say he gives up too many points (but, again, what's there to show for it?), but I believe he is still right at the top of his game where he should be. He's a FAR better blocking than what KG has ever been, and continues to swat away players two-point-hopes countlessly. Defensively, you could take either if you want, but I'll take Duncan for his dedication at keeping the ball away from going into the basket.

Don't even get me starting on setting up picks and freeing away Tony Parker on the high post.