Ranking the Top 25 Players in San Antonio Spurs History

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2013

Ranking the Top 25 Players in San Antonio Spurs History

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    From the ABA's Dallas Chaparrals to the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, the franchise has seen plenty of talented players don the silver and black uniform. With 2,200 wins, 41 playoff appearances and four championships in their 47-year history, the Spurs certainly have a tradition of victory.

    Many players contributed great seasons in San Antonio, but some, like George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan, spent most, if not all, of their respective careers with the team.

    But how do old-time greats such as James Silas and Gervin, who carried the Spurs through the franchise's early years, compare to the likes of championship-winning Robinson, Duncan and Tony Parker?

    Don't forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

    Note: All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

Honorable Mention: George Johnson, 1980-1982

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    He may not be a very familiar name, but George Johnson was a premier shot-blocker during the prime of his career.

    Johnson played just two seasons in San Antonio, but his 512 blocks ranks sixth on the Spurs' all-time list.

    He led the league in swatted shots for both seasons, and Johnson earned second-team NBA All-Defensive honors in 1980-81.

25. John Beasley, 1967-1970

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    As a member of the Dallas Chaparrals, John Beasley made three consecutive ABA All-Star games and was even the MVP of the 1969 showcase.

    Beasley averaged a double-double for his first three ABA seasons and then 15.9 points and 9.2 rebounds in his fourth year.

    He was selected to two All-ABA teams in 1967-68 and 1968-69.

24. Rich Jones, 1969-1975

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    Rich Jones was a solid scorer during his five full seasons with the Chaparrals and ABA version of the Spurs, and he peaked at 22.3 points per game during the 1972-73 season.

    The University of Memphis product played in two All-Star games and had five playoff appearances.

    Jones ranks eighth on the franchise list for rebounds with 3,137 and for minutes per game (35.0).

23. Mike Gale, 1975-1980

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    Mike Gale played one season with the ABA Spurs before passing and stealing his way through the NBA for four-and-a-half more years on San Antonio's team.

    The 6'4" guard ranks 10th and eighth, respectively, on the franchise lists for assists and steals.

    Gale posted averages of approximately 10.0 points and 6.5 assists per game while with the Spurs, and he was twice selected to the ABA All-Defensive First Team.

22. Terry Cummings, 1989-1995

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    Terry Cummings was a prolific scorer as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks and, after being traded to the Spurs, continued to be a reliable shooter.

    Cummings posted 22.4, 17.6 and 17.3 points during his first three years with San Antonio, and he made the eighth-most shots during the 1989-90 season.

    Additionally, his 943 offensive rebounds ranks eighth in franchise history.

21. Billy Paultz, 1975-1980, 1983

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    Billy Paultz was a consistent 15-point, nine-rebound guy over four full seasons with San Antonio.

    While on the Spurs, "The Whopper" made two ABA All-Star teams and led the ABA in blocks during the 1975-76 campaign.

    Paultz sits in fourth place on the franchise list for blocks and has the seventh-most rebounds.

20. Chuck Person, 1994-1998

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    Chuck Person played 202 games, starting 28 games over three seasons for San Antonio.

    The once-Rookie of the Year averaged more than 10 points per game for his first two years with the Spurs, but after missing an entire season, Person's shooting percentage dropped 78 points from .437 to .359.

    The 6'8" forward attempted plenty of three-pointers during his time, though, as he has the sixth-most triples made in franchise history.

19. Brent Barry, 2004-2008

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    Brent Barry was never a prolific scorer, but he could sure drain the trifecta with great efficiency.

    The sharpshooter canned 40.4 percent of his attempts from three-point land throughout his four seasons in San Antonio.

    While with the Spurs, Barry had the league's third-highest three-point mark (44.6 percent) during the 2006-07 season. The 14-year veteran won two championships with the Spurs typically playing a reserve role.

18. Dennis Rodman, 1993-1995

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    He wasn't a member of the Spurs for very long, but Dennis Rodman sure was productive. After spending seven seasons with the Detroit Pistons and before his championship run with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Rodman played two year in San Antonio.

    In 1993-94, Rodman led the league grabbing an absurd 17.3 rebounds per game. The following season, Rodman played just 49 games, but he still averaged 7.1 points and 16.8 boards per contest.

    For perspective, Rodman snatched 823 rebounds during the 1994-95 season when he played 49 games. Last season, the Houston Rockets' Omer Asik played 82 games and led the NBA with 956 total rebounds.

    Ultimately, Rodman's rebounding numbers are pure insanity, and he was a massive contributor throughout his two seasons in San Antonio.

17. Michael Finley, 2005-2010

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    A top scoring option with the Dallas Mavericks, Michael Finley joined the Spurs in 2005 and continued to be an excellent three-point shooter.

    Finley soared up the franchise list and ranks fifth in career three-pointers made with 490.

    The University of Wisconsin product hovered around 10 points, three rebounds and 1.5 assists per game over four seasons with the team.

    Finley was a part of San Antonio's 2007 championship season, and he shot a career-best 41.1 percent from behind the arc during 2008-09.

16. Vinny Del Negro, 1992-1998

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    Vinny Del Negro spent six seasons with the Spurs, and he was a part of five playoff appearances while sharing the backcourt with Avery Johnson.

    Del Negro was a solid contributor, consistently averaging near 11 points and 3.5 assists per game; plus, he rarely committed turnovers.

    According to Basketball-Reference, Del Negro led the league posting a 6.3 turnover percentage during the 1994-95 season.

    Del Negro may not have made many highlight-reel plays, but he was fundamentally sound as a ball-handler.

15. Malik Rose, 1997-2005

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    Malik Rose came off the bench for the Spurs during the late 1990s into the early 2000s, and the eight-year Spur was always making plays.

    Rose never "wowed" on the stat sheet, but he went from 8.1 minutes, 3.0 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in 1997-98 to a 24.5-minute, 10.4-point and 6.4-rebound line during the Spurs' second championship season five years later.

    Though David Robinson and Tim Duncan were clearly the superstars, San Antonio never missed the playoffs while Rose, the duo's top backup, was on the team.

14. Johnny Moore, 1980-1987

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    Johnny Moore was a fantastic facilitator during his tenure with the Spurs, and the team even retired his jersey number.

    Moore put together five consecutive nine-point, nine-assist, two-plus-steal seasons in San Antonio, and he found a home atop a variety of franchise record lists because of that production.

    The 6'1" guard held the mark for assists by the end of his career—his 3,865 dimes remains the third-highest number—and Moore also has the fifth-most steals.

13. Artis Gilmore, 1982-1987

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    Not only did Artis Gilmore score 18.0 points per game during his first season (1982-83) in San Antonio, his 62.6 percent field-goal percentage led the league.

    Gilmore followed up that accomplishment by repeating the feat again in 1983-84, and it happened to be his fourth consecutive year doing so.

    The 7'2" center posted a Spurs-best 62.0 percent career mark from the field, and Gilmore's 6,127 career points narrowly misses a top-10 spot in franchise history.

    Gilmore added the seventh-most blocks with 700 swats over his five seasons as a member of the San Antonio roster.

12. Avery Johnson, 1991, 1992-1993, 1994-2001

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    Avery Johnson is one of seven San Antonio players to have his number retired, and the fact he was once the Spurs' all-time assist leader certainly helped his case.

    He compiled 4,474 assists and 712 steals, and Johnson even scored the 10th-most points by a Spur.

    Johnson also hit the game-winning, series-clinching shot in the 1999 NBA Finals to win the franchise's first championship.

11. Mike Mitchell, 1981-1988

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    The 6'7" small forward from Auburn University had a handful of fantastic scoring seasons, averaging 19.9, 23.3, 22.2 and 23.4 points during his first four seasons with San Antonio.

    Mitchell's 20.1 points per game is the sixth-most in Spurs history, and he scored the seventh-most points, too.

    His career 7.9 turnover percentage ranks fourth-best, and Mitchell also snared 2,683 rebounds throughout his San Antonio tenure.

10. Larry Kenon, 1975-1980

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    Larry Kenon played five seasons for the Spurs, and he was very effective around the rim.

    Kenon never averaged less than 18.7 points per game, and his lowest shooting percentage was an astounding 48.1 percent. He also added approximately 10 rebounds per contest throughout his time in San Antonio.

    The 6'9" forward scored the ninth-most points, grabbed the 10th-most steals and snatched the fourth-most rebounds in franchise history.

    Kenon appeared in five All-Star games (three ABA, two NBA) and was a first-team ABA All-Rookie member.

9. Bruce Bowen, 2001-2009

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    Bruce Bowen was known for his aggressive defense, and he was selected to eight consecutive NBA All-Defensive teams.

    Opponents never had a break from Bowen, either, as he was always on the floor. Bowen played at least 80 games in seven of eight seasons with San Antonio.

    During the 2002-03 campaign, Bowen's 44.1 percent three-point mark led the league. He made the second-most trifectas in franchise history, too, with 661 shots made from behind the arc.

    Three championships and a slew of frustrated opponents later, the Spurs retired Bowen's jersey in 2012.

8. Alvin Robertson, 1984-1989

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    Alvin Robertson spent the first five seasons of his 10-year NBA career with San Antonio, and he had a knack for creating on both ends of the floor.

    Robertson was an extremely well-rounded player averaging 16.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game as a member of the Spurs.

    He twice led the NBA with 3.7 and 3.2 steals per game while adding 3.0 per contest during two other seasons. Robertson's excellent hands earned him a spot as the third-highest steal-getter in San Antonio history.

    Robertson made four NBA All-Defensive teams, one All-NBA team, was elected to three All-Star games and won both the Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player awards in 1985-86.

7. James Silas, 1973-1981

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    James Silas spent nine seasons in the organization, and he is the only player listed to take the court for the Chaparrals, ABA Spurs and NBA Spurs.

    A two-time All-ABA and two-time All-Star, Silas ranks sixth on San Antonio's scoring list, has the eighth-most steals and also had a spectacular 85.5 percent career free-throw percentage.

    Silas' best season occurred in 1975-76 when he netted 23.8 points, dished 5.4 assists, snared 4.0 rebounds and grabbed 1.8 steals per game.

    The Spurs retired Silas' jersey in 1984.

6. Sean Elliott, 1989-1993, 1994-2001

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    Sean Elliott had a trade separate his two stints with San Antonio, but he found his way onto many different franchise record lists over 11 years with the Spurs.

    Elliott compiled the third-most three-pointers made, eighth-most points and 10th-most rebounds while playing the sixth-most minutes.

    The 6'8" forward averaged 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists for his career, made two All-Star teams and was a member of the Spurs' 1999 championship squad.

    San Antonio retired Elliott's jersey in 2005.

5. Manu Ginobili, 2002-Present

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    A three-time champion and two-time All-Star, Manu Ginobili has career averages of 15 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.

    Ginobili has spent the majority of his career coming off the bench, playing 727 games while starting 346 of those contests. In 2007-08, the Argentine won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.

    The 11-year pro is by far the franchise leader in three-point field goals, ranks the fifth-best in both the points and assists categories and has also snagged the fourth-most steals.

    Even with his well-documented recent struggles, the bumpy road certainly does not diminish Ginobili's overall body of work in the least.

4. Tony Parker, 2001-Present

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    Tony Parker, San Antonio's point guard for the last 12 seasons, has consistently improved since his rookie year.

    From 9.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds in his first season, to 18.8, 6.0 and 3.2 in 2007-08, to 20.3, 7.6 and 3.0 last year, Parker has evolved from a distributor to a playmaker.

    Parker has won three championships with the Spurs and earned the 2007 Finals MVP. He has appeared in five All-Star games, been selected to three All-NBA teams and is the franchise leader in assists.

    The French guard also ranks fourth-best and seventh-best on San Antonio's points and steals lists, respectively.

3. George Gervin, 1974-1985

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    Nicknamed "The Iceman," George Gervin was a cold-blooded scorer.

    Gervin won the NBA scoring title four times and was a top-10 bucket-getter in the ABA or NBA 11 different seasons, and he held the franchise scoring record until this calendar year.

    He once had the most steals in team history (and still remains in second), forcing 1,159 turnovers during his 12 seasons with the Spurs.

    A nine-time All-NBA selection, 12-time All-Star, 1980 All-Star Game MVP, Gervin is only missing the illustrious NBA championship as an addition to his impressive resume.

    San Antonio retired Gervin's jersey in 1987.

2. David Robinson, 1989-2003

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    A man who needs little introduction, David Robinson scored the second-most points in franchise history, once held the record for rebounds and currently holds the top spot with the most blocked shots.

    I bet you were already aware the 10-time All-Star was a great scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker, but did you know Robinson has the quickest hands in the history of the Spurs?

    He also holds the career mark for most steals with 1,388 thefts during his 14-year career.

    Pretty impressive, huh?

    "The Admiral" won two championships, was the 1994-95 league MVP and appeared on eight NBA All-Defensive teams. Shortly after his final season, Robinson's number was retired by the Spurs in 2003.

    Robinson rarely missed a game throughout the entirety of his career, but two injuries prevented the 7-footer from playing all but six games of the 1996-97 season. San Antonio suffered without Robinson and had the NBA's worst record, but it did open the door for this guy...

1. Tim Duncan, 1997-Present

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    Tim Duncan was drafted first overall during the 1997 NBA draft, and all he has done is win four championships, three finals MVPs, two league MVPs, Rookie of the Year, be named to 14 All-NBA and NBA All-Defensive teams, appear in 14 All-Star games and be chosen as an All-Star Game MVP.

    Additionally, the 50-game 1998-99 season notwithstanding, Duncan's Spurs teams have never won fewer than 50 games.

    Yeah, Duncan has been pretty good, but he's not done yet.

    The Wake Forest product returns next season with a chip on his shoulder, and in an improved Western Conference, Duncan must lead San Antonio back to the finals for another shot at a fifth title.

    Regardless of what happens, however, Duncan is the greatest player in franchise history.