This is the fifth and final part of a five-part series discussing the San Antonio Spurs’ All-Time starting five. We have already discussed the reasons that Tony Parker, George Gervin, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan are my choices for point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward on this team. In this final installment of the series, we will debate which player deserves to be the center of the Spurs’ All-Time team.
David Robinson is the obvious choice. Robinson played in an era of dominant big men (late 80s to mid-90s), yet immediately managed to stand out as the cream of the crop.
Let’s examine just Robinson’s first six seasons in the NBA. In this span, Robinson won Rookie of the Year, NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. In addition, he won a rebounding title, a scoring crown, six All-Star bids, three selections to the All-NBA First Team and three selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Wow.
Robinson’s statistical achievements are phenomenal. He has career per-game averages of 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, three blocks and 1.5 steals. There were years where Robinson posted averages that look like video game stats. Take 1990-91 for example, where Robinson averaged 26 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and two steals per game. Or 1991-92 when he averaged 4.5 blocks and 2.3 steals per game.
Oh, and he still managed 23 points and 10 rebounds per game on top of that.
A contemporary player that often draws comparisons to Robinson is Dwight Howard, but in all honestly, Robinson is in a different class. Had Robinson played in today’s NBA, an era with few star big men, he would have dominated in a way that Howard never has.
His offensive game was better than Howard’s ever will be, and he had just as much, if not more impact defensively (Howard’s never had anything close to a 4.5 block/2.3 steal per game season). Robinson managed to win league MVP while playing against Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing. Howard, who should be in his prime right now, couldn’t even make All-NBA first or second team this year.
It’s also worth noting the tremendous teammate Robinson was, and that he is one of the league’s greatest philanthropists.
Take how he handled the Tim Duncan situation as an example. Robinson was widely considered the best Spurs player ever until Duncan came along. But unlike the many “me first” superstars in the league nowadays who would have held onto the spotlight for as long as possible, Robinson willingly passed the torch to Duncan and together, they led the Spurs to two titles before the end of Robinson’s career.
So Robinson anchors the All-Time Spurs team at center. The Spurs have had some tremendous players in their history, and I believe this starting five could compete against most any other franchises’.