This is the second installment of a mini-series debating the San Antonio Spurs‘ All-Time starting five. In the first, I explained why Tony Parker has quickly become the best point guard in Spurs history, and could potentially end up being one of the 10 best ever. In this article, we’ll move to discussing the other guard position, shooting guard.
George Gervin was the first Spurs superstar, and is the best shooting guard to ever don the Silver & Black. He is, in my opinion, the best scorer in Spurs history, and one of the best pure scorers in NBA history.
Throughout his career, “The Iceman” put up some staggering numbers, like a 33.1 point per game average on 53 percent shooting in 1980-81. For his career, he averaged 25.1 PPG on over 50 percent shooting, and was one of the most successful players to make the ABA-NBA transition. And for what it’s worth, he patented the “finger-roll”, and used it better than any other player ever has, finger-rolling from as far away as the free throw line.
If we had to compare Gervin to any contemporary player, his efficient scoring ability would lead me to compare him to Kevin Durant. But really, at this early stage in Durant’s career, we ought to be comparing Durant to Gervin.
Of course, there is another, more recent great shooting guard in Spurs history, and that is Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili is in the final stages of a tremendous career, both as an international star and with the Spurs. The three-time world champion has been a fundamental piece of this 15-year Spurs dynasty and has revolutionized the concept of a sixth man in the NBA. But his numbers just don’t compare to the gaudy numbers of Gervin (Ginobili’s career average of 14.9 PPG is 10 less than Gervin’s).
Ginobili has accomplished a great deal internationally (gold medal with Argentina and Euro League Championship), but for our purposes, we can only consider what he has done in San Antonio. For these reasons Gervin gets the nod over Manu.
So there we have it, the backcourt to our All-Time Spurs starting five is complete. It’s a shame Parker and Gervin played in different eras; it would have been amazing to watch them together.