Shaq vs. Duncan or Duncan vs. Garnett? We have seen the head to head matchups among these dominant post players from when all three were in the Western conference until now, with Kevin Garnett in Boston and Shaquille O'Neal in Phoenix.
Add Kobe, A.I., and possibly J-Kidd to that list, and have you have arguably the top five players of the post-Jordan era.
So who was the best big man in the NBA's post-Jordan era: The Big Ticket, Diesel, or Mr. Fundamental?
Since 1998, Shaq has won four NBA Championship rings (99-00, 00-01, 01-02, 05-06), one MVP (99-00), and three Finals MVPs (99-00, 00-01, 01-02).
Shaq won three of the four NBA Championships in LA, with one in Miami, and made five finals appearances, all in a seven-year period.
People realized how valuable Shaq was when he left LA. The Lakers weren't even a playoff team, and Miami suddenly was one-game away from going to the NBA Finals that season.
He's a two-time scoring champion but Shaq is injury-prone. He's one of the best passing big men in NBA history, and the most dominant player of this era, maybe of all-time.
His career stats are 24.9 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 2.3 BPG, and .582 FG%.
Garnett has won one NBA Championship (07-08), and one MVP (03-04).
He has only been out of the first round twice in his career (his last two playoff appearances).
Garnett's play has changed the role of the power forward greatly. His mid-range jumper as well as his athleticism set the path for power forwards like Amar'e Stoudemire, Antawn Jamison, and Chris Bosh.
What really changed the position was his intensity and all-round game. It is a rare combination for a frontcourt player that is not a small forward.
His achievements may not be as great as those of the other two, who were the cornerstones of their teams' dynasties, but as soon as he went to Boston he completely changed the culture of the Celtics.
He made each individual player better defensively, with his intensity and will to win. He won Defensive Player of the Year and led the Boston Celtics to an NBA record 17th NBA Championship.
His career stats are 20.2 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG, and .496 FG%.
Duncan has won four NBA Championships (98-99, 02-03, 04-05, 06-07), two MVPs (01-02, 02-03), and three Finals MVPs.
Duncan won four Championships in a nine-year period, and is one of two players to win multiple MVPs in this era (the other being Steve Nash).
In my opinion, and many others, he is considered the best power forward of all-time. He may not have the personality of the other two, or the "wow" factor, but he knows how to win.
Plus, even though he has never won Defensive Player of Year, he has been the most consistent defender in this era. He has been on the All-NBA First or Second Team every year since Jordan's second retirement in 1998.
Tim Duncan is also injury-prone. In recent years, his playing time has been limited to ensure that he is healthy in the playoffs.
His career stats are 21.5 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 2.3 BPG, and .508 FG%.
Now, it's kind of tough to choose between these three great big men, but here's how I rank these amazing superstars.
3. Kevin Garnett
You could easily put Garnett at the top because of his all-around play, but a lack of rings and his inferior stats kind of hurt him in my opinion.
2. Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq should be No. 1 on this list, but his work ethic and his effort on the defensive end kept him from reaching his full potential.
That said, Shaq is, without doubt, the most dominant player this sport has seen since Wilt Chamberlain.
1. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is my choice as the best big man of this era.
He put the San Antonio Spurs franchise on the map over the past decade with the four NBA Championships he delivered to the city.
He's the best winner in the sport today, and no disrespect to Kobe or A.I, but Tim Duncan may be the best player of this era.
This was such a hard decision to make, and if I were a GM I would do almost anything to get one of these players.
They are first-ballot Hall of Famers in my book.
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