Dominance can't last forever and everyone knows it. David Robinson was sure of the fact, and so hung up his sneaks after securing his NBA Finals ring. Pretty soon, Tim Duncan will do the same.
Duncan has had a super career, one of the best ever, but how long will it be before he retires and leaves the San Antonio Spurs in disarray? Who will fill the shoes of one of the all-time greats?
No one for now, it seems. The Spurs currently have six players 6’10” or taller: Robert Horry, Fabricio Oberto, Matt Bonner, Tim Duncan, Kurt Thomas, and Ian Mahinmi.
Thomas, Duncan, Oberto, and Bonner all are 32 or older and each has at least five years experience.
Ian Mahinmi is the only exception; he’s 29 years old and a rookie.
But none of the players mentioned above have anywhere near the skill level capable of compensating for the loss of Duncan once he leaves. San Antonio better draft a big man soon.
Here is a list of big men who will probably be entering the draft and may be able to help the organization in the future.
Why not replace the tower with another? This 7’2”, 278 pound senior decided not to enter the draft last year in hopes of increasing his draft stock.
Well, in my opinion that decision hurt his chances of securing a top five pick.
While Hibbert is only averaging 13.6 PPG and 6.4 RPG, everyone knows that he’s capable of becoming a beast in the paint for any NBA franchise.
The term that describes this kid best is “All-American.” Tyler has been, hands down, the best player in North Carolina, the ACC, and maybe even the country.
He leaves it all out on the floor and is the poster child for pure intensity and dedication. He posts averages of 23.4 PPG and 10.4 RPG—not too shabby.
He has been instrumental in UConn’s impressive recent run and is himself the main reason that the Huskies lead the NCAA in blocks per game.
In 27 out of 29 games this season, Thabeet has posted 2+ blocks per game and has recorded 4+ blocks in 15 games this year! His season high was 10 against Notre Dame.
Thabeet brings an outstanding defense (which coach Greg Popovich loves) and is also a decent scorer. Thabeet averages 10.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 4.4 BPG.
Keeping the defensive side in mind, meet Jarvis Varnado. He’s receiving little publicity at Mississippi State, but he’s continuing to put in the work.
The 6’9”, 210 pound F/C is averaging just under five blocks a game (4.9), and has recorded 10 blocks on three separate occasions this season. Bottom line, he is a superb defender.
He also has compiled 5+ blocks in 15 different games this year and is also a good rebounder, bringing down double digit rebounding in eight of their 28 matches. And all this in only 27.7 minutes per game.
Not only is he the SEC and NCAA Defensive Player of the Year, Varnado also has a decent shot at SEC Player of the Year. He averages 7.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 4.9 BPG.
The UCLA Bruin is sure to garner attention on draft day—the Spurs would be lucky to get him.
You have to like a kid like Love, his style of play is just so fun to watch. You’ll notice he attacks every rebound and every ball with both hands—not with just one hand, as most players at his position do.
Love is also a savvy passer for a man his size, and will step out and take the occasional three. The Pac-10 Freshman of the Year candidate is averaging 17.3 PPG and 11.1 RPG.
Or maybe the Spurs will head in a new direction and rely on their guard play to win them the rings. But in the Western Conference, Ginobili and Parker won’t be able to hang with the Odens and Bynums in the future.
Note: The reason Michael Beasley was not mentioned in this conversation is that he is not 6’10” or taller.