Tim Duncan's Analytics Are Nearly Unmatched in NBA History

Duncan's retirement ends one of the most dominant eras in NBA history. Just how good was he?

After after announcing his retirement, hall-of-fame shoo-in Tim Duncan will no longer be patrolling the paint for the San Antonio Spurs, and the NBA will never be quite the same.

Duncan has been an NBA stalwart for nearly two full decades, leading the association in games played since joining the league for the 1997-98 season and ranking second in minutes played behind only Kobe Bryant.

Though his minutes waned during his final few seasons, Duncan remained one of the league's most efficient players, earning him the right to be placed in the NBA's most elite company no matter how you look at it.

Tim Duncan: By the Numbers

Since the 1997-98 season, Duncan recorded 206.4 win shares, the most among all players with at least 82 games in that span.

His 18.4% rebounding rate ranks eighth in that stretch, as does his 4.6% block rate. Duncan's defensive rating of 96 ties for the second-best mark among those qualified players (with Ben Wallace) and trails only David Robinson's mark of 93.

Perhaps the most substantial number of all is Duncan's 106.3 defensive win shares. Only two other players recorded more than 70 since the 1997-98 season: Kevin Garnett (85.0) and Ben Wallace (70.2). Duncan's defensive win shares alone would rank him 20th among this group of players in overall win shares.

But Duncan did more than dominate his peers.

His win shares mark (again, 206.4) ranks sixth all-time.

Player Win Shares Player Win Shares
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 273.4 Shaquille O'Neal 181.7
Wilt Chamberlain 247.3 David Robinson 178.7
Karl Malone 234.6 Charles Barkley 177.2
Michael Jordan 214.0 Reggie Miller 174.4
John Stockton 207.7 Kobe Bryant 172.7
Tim Duncan 206.4 Moses Malone 167.1
Dirk Nowitzki 198.8 Bill Russell 163.5
LeBron James 192.5 Hakeem Olajuwon 162.8
Kevin Garnett 191.4 Jerry West 162.6
Oscar Robertson 189.2 Magic Johnson 155.8

Duncan's grasp on the sixth spot overall is in jeopardy, with Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James on his heels, but as of now, he's one of six players to account for 200-plus wins in his career.

Plus, Duncan's defense still holds up: his 106.3 defensive win shares make him one of just two players with a career score higher than 95, the other being Bill Russell at 133.6.

And as for being an all-around player, Duncan is largely unmatched in his own right. He's hanging up his sneakers with a career rebounding rate of 18.4%, an assist rate of 16.4%, and a block rate of 4.6%, making him the only player in NBA history to post such a baseline over at least 82 games.

Perhaps even more amazing is that Duncan also had an incredible second life in the NBA playoffs.

Duncan in the Playoffs

Among players with at least 14 career playoff games, Duncan ranks third all-time in win shares (37.8) behind LeBron James (41.6) and Michael Jordan (39.8).

His 17.4 defensive win shares again rank second to only Bill Russell (21.8).

And yes, a lot of this has to do with minutes in addition to his elite play: his 9,370 minutes played make him the only player in NBA history with more than 8,900 playoff minutes.

But his 17.7% rebounding rate, 16.0% assist rate, and 4.5% block rate -- similar to his career numbers in the regular season -- make him the only player in playoff history to record such a line.

An All-Time Legend

Sure, there are other frontcourt players with more all-time win shares than Duncan accumulated -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (273.4), Wilt Chamberlain (247.3), and Karl Malone (234.6) -- but you'd be hard-pressed to find many who argue against the claim that Duncan is the best power forward in NBA history.

After all, Duncan made one of the NBA's most successful franchises 6.1 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor than without him, and his personal net rating ties him for seventh all-time among players with at least 20,000 career minutes.

PlayerOffensive RatingDefensive RatingNet Rating
David Robinson1169620
Chris Paul12210418
Magic Johnson12110417
John Stockton12110417
Tyson Chandler11810216
Michael Jordan11810315
Charles Barkley11910514
Sidney Moncrief11910514
LeBron James11610214
Larry Bird11510114
Dennis Rodman11410014
Tim Duncan1109614

By just about any measure -- championships, All-Star appearances, MVPs, advanced numbers, or raw stats -- Duncan is undoubtedly one of the NBA's best of all-time.

But because of his 19 years of sheer dominance, you already knew that.