Over the past 11 seasons, when the words "San Antonio Spurs" were uttered, the most common word association that popped into our minds as NBA fans was "Tim Duncan."
Despite many experts wanting to believe that Duncan is no longer a factor for the Western Conference power, I'm here to tell you that Duncan should still be the first priority of any opposing team on the scouting report.
Sure, the NBA has been more "entertainment-based" over the last decade or so, and I am more than willing to admit that if you like entertainment, Duncan probably doesn’t top the list for people to go out and watch. However, if you like basketball played the right way, fork over some cash to see a game, and enjoy watching TD dominate.
After all, there’s a reason why he has averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds per contest throughout his illustrious career, and that’s because he never gives up on the court. He might argue with officials a little too much—but in the end, he allows his playing to do the talking.
Even though Duncan is the obvious focal point of the Spurs' frontcourt, he is certainly not the only player that can hurt opposing teams. That is mainly because small forward Bruce Bowen is technically a frontcourt player.
Bowen is arguably the most tenacious defender in the entire league, but he is underrated at the offensive end of the court as well. As far as strengths are concerned, Bowen's defense is the clear high point of his game, but over the past couple years he has developed one of the best wing three-point jumpers in the Western Conference.
The biggest weakness I see is that he lacks the size for a small forward in today's NBA game. In a day in age when LeBron James' ox-like stature handles the ball as though he were a point guard, the 6'7", 200-pound Bowen is far outmatched in strength at times, especially deep in the paint.
The last member of the starting frontcourt cast for the Spurs is Fabricio Oberto. The 6'11" Argentine has become a fan favorite in Texas for his hustle and grit on the court. He is not afraid to come in and provide solid, hard-nosed defense, as well as contributing with the occasional bucket offensively. He may have averaged under five points a game, but he grabbed 5.2 rebounds per contest in just 20 minutes of action per night. That's what I like to call efficient basketball.
The frontcourt success still hinges on Duncan's ability to put the ball in the basket, though. He still has the best post-up game in the NBA, and his patented 20-foot jumper off the glass makes any old-school basketball fan drool. Overall, this guy is certainly not washed up, and look for him to key another Spurs playoff run in 2009.