Project Spurs continues it's look back at what will probably be known as the Golden Age of Spurs basketball this decade. Today I'll highlight the players of the decade.
Aside from three championships, this decade has brought Spurs fans some very good players and fan favorites. But when thinking of the players that deserve the distinction of being known as Players of the Decade, I could only think of three players, the big three, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
I always say, and will continue to say, that Tim Duncan is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated players in the league. Maybe it's his demeanor on the court, but if you take a look at what he's done this past decade, I'm surprised he hasn't picked up more hardware.
He enjoyed the best year of his career and of the decade in the 2001-02 season, when he averaged 25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game. To go along with that, he shot a career-high 79 percent from the charity stripe.
There's no question that Duncan will probably be known as the best player to come through this franchise, so is there really any doubt that he belongs on the all-decade team. All I can say is get enough of him now fans, because when he hangs up his Adidas TS Commanders for the last time, a lot of people will realize how great he truly was.
Many GM's and and NBA writers scratched their heads when the Spurs picked a player out of Paris Basket Racing with their 28th overall pick in the 2001 Draft. But, it didn't take long before Parker made a splash in the NBA.
Drafting Parker signaled the end of the Avery Johnson era in San Antonio, but while Johnson was the point guard of the 90s, Parker is the point guard of the 2000s and he quickly made San Antonio forget about a fan favorite. But not only did, Parker take over, he also redefined what a point guard was with his mind-numbing speed and potent scoring.
While Parker has had his struggles, he's also matured as a player and put himself among the elite NBA point guards.
Manu could probably take up a full article of his own, but it's safe to say that he's probably the best second round draft gem of this decade and likely beyond that. He's the kind of player that only comes around about every decade.
While you may look at his stats and not think twice about him, he's been a very key cog to the way this Spurs team runs, and I think I can safely say that at the most 3 banners, not 4, would be hanging in the AT&T Center without him,
2005 was clearly his best year. He was unstoppable in the playoffs and led the Spurs over the Pistons in the Finals. Not only has Manu put his ego aside and sacrificed his body, he's sacrificed superstar status he could have had playing for any other team.
As a Spurs fan, I've been privileged to witness and celebrate four championships, to watch so many skilled players, and especially to be a fan of this team through such an amazing stretch. It kind of puts things in perspective and as this decade comes to a close very soon, I realize how lucky I've been as a fan to be able to see these three go to war for 82 games a year.