Tim Duncan retired from the NBA Monday as one of the most accomplished players in the history of the league with five titles, three Finals MVP awards and 15 All-Star appearances – and the stats suggest that Duncan is the best power forward to ever play the game.
One particularly eye-popping stat shows that Duncan may have been the most impactful player at any position over the last two decades, even as his production declined in his late 30s. ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh shared the cumulative plus-minus of all NBA players from 1996 to the end of the 2016 NBA Finals, and no one comes close to Duncan.
Career plus-minus including playoffs since 1996:
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Tim Duncan +10,000 Dirk Nowitzki +6,725 LeBron James +6,658
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Duncan would top this list, as the Spurs have never won fewer than 50 games in standard-length seasons over the course of his career. Still, Duncan’s more than 3,000 points clear of anyone else, including his longtime Spurs teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. When Duncan was on the court, he had a profound impact on the game even if he didn’t lead the league in scoring or rebounding or blocked shots.