San Antonio Spurs: All-Time Franchise Lineup
By Dylan Carter
The San Antonio Spurs have a storied history full of excellence. The franchise’s ability to draft, sign and develop players has resulted in five championships and over 35 winning seasons.
The San Antonio Spurs’ continued success has been led by some of the game’s most talented players. We’ve compiled a list of the team’s greatest players based on accolades accumulated, personal skill and statistics.
Avery Johnson: In 10 seasons with the Spurs, Johnson thrived as playmakers and floor general. He directed the team’s offense with his elite court vision and knack for the game.
While Johnson’s presence in Spurs history is solidified, his lack of statistical impact left him out of this lineup.
Larry Kenon: Despite having just a five-year stint with the Spurs, Kenon was a sight to behold from 1975-1980. Kenon averaged 20.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in 399 games with the Spurs.
Terry Cummings: Most well known for his six-year stretch with Milwaukee, Cummings joined the Spurs as a seasoned veteran in 1989. He spent six years in San Antonio alongside David Robinson. His efficiency and production were notable, but not nearly the same as his production in Milwaukee.
Danny Green: Through seven seasons with the Spurs, Danny Green has proven himself to be one of the league’s elite ‘Three-and-D’ players. Green has averaged higher than 40 percent from three point land four times in his San Antonio career.
He also holds the records for highest effective field goal percentage in the Finals and highest three-point field goal percentage in a seven-game Finals series.
Backup Center: Artis Gilmore
Gilmore’s Hall of Fame career included a five-year stretch in San Antonio, where he averaged 16.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
The 7’2 bigman’s defensive dominance was complimented by his cunning ability to overpower opposing defenders. His daunting presence alone granted him his nickname: ‘The A-Train.’
To this day, Gilmore holds records for Spurs career leaders in field goal percentage, true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage.
Backup Forward: Bruce Bowen
Although his total stats accumulated leave some to be desired, Bruce Bowen’s impact on San Antonio was enormous. His defensive prowess and ability to make plays lands him in the lineup.
Bowen spent eight of his 14 years in the NBA with the Spurs. He won three championships in the 2000’s with San Antonio. He was also an 8X All-Defensive Player.
Backup Forward: Sean Elliott
Many fans know Elliott for his color commentary during Spurs home games, but the legend spent 11 seasons with San Antonio.
Elliott, a multitalented forward, was the backbone of the Spurs’ organization for many years. His ability to lead alongside David Robinson resulted in two All-Star selections and a championship ring in 1,999.
He averaged 14.4 points per game in his Spurs career and had his number, 32, retired in 2005.
Backup Guard: James Silas
Because of the era in which he played, James Silas is often overlooked when remembering Spurs history. Silas was a key member of the team during their move from Dallas to San Antonio in 1973.
Silas averaged 16.7 points per game in his career with the franchise. He was named to two All-Star teams and two All-ABA teams.
In the 1,975-1,976 season, Silas lit the league on fire with 23.8 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. He also averaged 5.4 assists per game, four rebounds and nearly two steals.
Sixth Man: Manu Ginobili
While his candidacy for the starting spot may be sizeable, it’s only fitting to have Manu as the sixth man.
Manu Ginobili, who just finished his 15th season with the Spurs, has been one of the league’s elite Shooting Guards for over a decade. His uncanny playmaking is only matched by his intensity, energy and will to win. Simply put, there is nothing on the basketball court that Manu cannot do.
His accolades include four championships, two All-Star appearances, two All-NBA selections and the 2008 Sixth Man of the Year Award. He also swatted a bat out of midair during a game.
If that’s not a testament to his intensity then I don’t know what is.
There was plenty of Manu Magic in @manuginobili's 15th season in Silver & Black! pic.twitter.com/rM4u15qag9
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 6, 2017
PG: Tony Parker
Similarly to Ginobili, Parker has spent his entire career with the Spurs as a core member of the team. His basketball IQ and crafty movements have led him to a Hall of Fame-worthy career.
In 16 years with the team, Parker has averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 assists. He is a six-time All-Star, a four-time All-NBA player and was the 2007 Finals MVP.
2007 #NBAFinals In the @spurs four-game sweep of @cavs Tony Parker became the first European-born player to win Finals MVP (24.5, 56.8 FG%) pic.twitter.com/k4sVQX9Vbv
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) June 2, 2017
As he’s gotten older, Parker has improved as a shooter and as a facilitator. He takes whatever role is necessary and does everything in his power to win. Above all, his unselfishness has made him one of the greatest players in Spurs history.
SG: George Gervin
George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin spent 12 of his 15 years in the NBA with San Antonio. Not only was he one of the game’s most prolific scorers, but he revolutionized offense with his ‘finger-roll’ layup.
The Iceman averaged 26.3 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and a block per game. To this day, he holds the record for highest points per game in a Spurs career.
Simply put, Gervin got it done on both sides of the floor. His athleticism and skill made him one of the game’s most unstoppable players.
He remains active in the San Antonio community with his youth organizations and active participation in Spurs events.
SF: Kawhi Leonard
The Klaw has made a lot of progress in his six-year career thus far. The former Finals MVP has made strides in his game and has become the face of the franchise in recent years.
Leonard has averaged 16.4 points per game in his Spurs career along with 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals. In just six shorts years, he’s become one of the game’s greatest defenders as seen by his two Defensive Player of the Year awards. Leonard also earned two All-Star appearances and two All-NBA honors.
The 2016-2017 season was a true awakening for the league as Leonard averaged 25.5 points per game and led the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals.
Along with James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Leonard has emerged as a top-three finalist for the league MVP award in 2017. The sky’s the limit for Kawhi Leonard.
PF: Tim Duncan
For nineteen seasons, Tim Duncan dominated the NBA. Each and every year, Duncan’s rim protection, post play and leadership shined amongst the best to ever play.
Not only has Duncan’s legendary career been recognized as the best in franchise history, but has been heavily considered as the greatest ever at the Power Forward position.
Duncan was a 15 time All-Star, a 15 time All-NBA selection, a two-time MVP, a five-time champion and the 1998 Rookie of the Year. He holds franchise records in games played, total points, total rebounds, total blocks and win shares.
Duncan easily deserves this spot as the greatest Spur to ever play.
The Spurs retired Tim Duncan's No. 21 jersey Sunday. Duncan won over 1,000 regular-season games in his career. pic.twitter.com/9bDdhQaFNF
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 19, 2016
C: David Robinson
‘The Admiral’ is without a doubt one of the greatest Centers the game has ever seen. His dominance on each end of the floor was uncanny and his attitude matched his play: Top Tier.
Robinson played for 14 seasons and spent each of them in San Antonio. He averaged 21.1 points per game along with 10.6 rebounds and three blocks.
Robinson was the 1995 MVP and racked up 10 All-NBA selections. He was also a key member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.
His athletic dominance, 7’2 stature and immense basketball IQ led him to one of the game’s greatest careers of all time.
Next: San Antonio Spurs: Ranking All 5 NBA Finals MVPs
Interestingly, Robinson is one of four players in league history to record a quadruple-double. In 1994, Robinson exploded against the Pistons with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks.