Tim Duncan Over DeMarcus Cousins: What it Means for “The Big Fundamental”

By Drew James

When the All-Star reserves were announced, Spurs fans were given something to cheer about as their all time great player was once again branded as one of the best players in the league.

It’s an award that’s been handed to The Big Fundamental fifteen times now, only evading him twice to this point in his career. Given our understanding of Timmy’s persona he probably doesn’t put much into his own selection, but it does say something about how he’s being perceived around the league.

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With the excitement that’s surrounded high-profile stars like Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James, it’s been a rarity for the introverted power forward to get his name in the news throughout his career. His production and impact on the basketball court has been undervalued and overlooked for most of his NBA service, but this year’s selection of Duncan over Demarcus Cousins is a sign of  a change.

In the aftermath of the Spurs fifth championships, the attitude towards the Spurs has turned into a more appreciative one, and Tim Duncan is right at the center of that. (Or is it the power forward, since that’s still up for debate?)  Finally, now that Duncan is 38, fans and analysts alike are paying attention to just how consistently effective Duncan has been since he came into the league, and it’s paid off for Duncan in terms of this years selections.

Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins could have been picked for the Western Conference front court without there being any complaints. So far in 2014-15, he’s averaged close to 24 points and 12 rebounds, adding in 1.6 blocks a game for the Sacramento Kings. Those numbers are certainly enough to make almost any year’s all-star team, and it does make him statistically more dominant than Duncan (excluding advanced statistics).

Dec 29, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings center

DeMarcus Cousins

(15) drives for the basket between San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (left) and

Kawhi Leonard

(right) during the second half at the AT&T Center. The Spurs won 112-104. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

But with Duncan’s game under a magnifying glass more than ever this year, the West head coaches were evidently impressed with his attention to detail and dedication to “doing the little things,” as it’s often put.

This is something new for Spurs fans, who have collectively been arguing for years that Duncan deserves to be respected as one of the most elite players in the history of the game. This sudden wave of excitement about the long-standing success of Tim Duncan may be enough to seal his legacy as the biggest basketball icon of this era when we look back at it.

As he begins writing the final chapters to his career, Duncan has deserved every bit of it.