Every summer, there is a lull in basketball news between free agency and the beginning of training camps throughout the league. In the dog days of the NBA summer, LWOS is bringing you the best five players to play for every NBA franchise in our Franchise Five series. The #LWOSFranchiseFive gives props to the best to ever lace up for each NBA team. Agree or disagree? Let us know at @LastWordHoops with the hash tag #LWOSFranchiseFive.
Southwest Division: San Antonio Spurs Franchise Five
The team that seems to perennially be atop their division starts off the Southwest portion of our Franchise Five series. Despite being one of the most successful franchises in NBA history, the Spurs have not had a lot of all-star players through the years. The bulk of their success has come since Tim Duncan has been with the team, and they are likely the only NBA team in this series to have three active players that are still on the team make this list. Despite being fairly obvious, here are the San Antonio Spurs’ franchise five.
Tim Duncan: We might as well start off with one of the easiest choices amongst the entire NBA. Duncan has been a fixture on the West all-star team and on the All-NBA team for over a decade since being taken by the Spurs first overall in 1997. Since joining San Antonio, Duncan has won five championships, two MVP Awards, three Finals MVP Awards, and has been selected to the all-star team 15 times. He is the only player to have been selected to the All-NBA and All-defensive teams in each of his first eight seasons, and has been selected to both 15 times. A slam dunk for the Hall of Fame, Duncan is one of the top ten greatest players in NBA history.
David Robinson: The Admiral, who played alongside Duncan on two championship teams, is an easy choice here. Robinson played fourteen seasons in San Antonio and was among the league’s best centers. A ten time all-star, Robinson won the league MVP in 1995 and won a scoring title in 1994, edging out Shaquille O’Neal. If not for his duties with the Navy, Robinson’s impressive career totals would be even greater. Despite not being able to win a championship until Tim Duncan came along, Robinson is regarded as one of the greatest big men in NBA history. He was selected to the Olympic Dream Team in 1992, the NBA’s 50 greatest players in 1996, and elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009. His number 50 is retired by the Spurs, and he is, after Duncan, the greatest player in franchise history.
George Gervin: Gervin was a member of the original Spurs of the ABA before the merger, and played 12 seasons in San Antonio. A prolific scorer, The Ice Man averaged 26.3 points per game with the Spurs and led the league in scoring four times. Gervin was a part of one of the most epic scoring races in league history in 1978 when, on the final day of the regular season David Thompson scored 73 points to pull ahead of Gervin in the scoring race. Gervin, however, responded by scoring 63 himself to capture the title. Gervin was a 12 time all-star with the spurs, nine times an All-NBA/ABA team member, and is still considered one of the elite scorers in NBA history who was known for his patented finger roll. Although he didn’t win a championship, Gervin went to the playoffs 11 times as a Spur, but just could not compete with the top Western contenders of his era. Gervin was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and elected to the Hall of Fame the same year.
Tony Parker: Once thought of as just a complimentary piece on a Tim Duncan led team, Parker has carved himself a Hall of Fame career. He has now played 14 seasons for the Spurs and won four championships, along with a Finals MVP Award in 2007. Parker has been selected to six all-star teams and has frequently been in the discussion regarding the league’s top point guards. Parker’s career numbers have been impressive, with averages of 16.9 points and 5.9 assists per game, but his career, along with his Spurs teammates’, have been about more than individual numbers. Parker has been the floor general for four championship teams and has become an elite scoring guard despite his size and below average outside shot. He is frequently among the league leaders in points in the paint and field goal percentage, especially among guards. Parker’s hall of fame legacy has already been established. The only question that remains now is whether or not he can help lead the Spurs to one more NBA championship.
Manu Ginobili: The final member of the Spurs’ “Big Three” to join the team, Ginobili has had to sacrifice the most to help the franchise stay competitive for as long as they have. Ginobili won two championships with the Spurs and made an all-star team before taking a bench role to help the team, and he is now perhaps the greatest sixth man in NBA history. He has been a crucial part of four championship teams in 13 seasons and been selected to two all-star teams while being the NBA’s sixth man of the year. Sacrificing his own statistics and money, Ginobili has been the Spurs’ playmaker off the bench for nearly a decade. Despite his modest career numbers — only 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game — Ginobili is a lock for the hall of fame with his playoff and international competition credentials. One of the most feared fourth quarter and playoff performers in the NBA, Ginobili is certainly one of the top five players in Spurs history.
Honourable mention: Bruce Bowen, Sean Elliot, Avery Johnson