San Antonio Spurs: Top 25 players in franchise history

By Rob Wolkenbrod
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 3: (Left to Right) Bruce Bowen
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 3: (Left to Right) Bruce Bowen
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SAN ANTONIO – DECEMBER 7: Bruce Bowen
SAN ANTONIO – DECEMBER 7: Bruce Bowen

13. Bruce Bowen

Bruce Bowen’s Basketball-Reference page will slightly mislead you. He was never an elite offensive player, but made his home behind the 3-point line from 2001-09 for the San Antonio Spurs. This came with three NBA championships and a whole lot of defense.

Bowen’s calling card was defense, as he was one of the NBA’s best on the opposite end of the court for the 2000’s. He won eight defensive awards — five NBA All-Defensive First Team awards (2004-08) and three All-Defensive Second Team awards (2001-2003). So, this spanned every year except one (2008-09) while on the Spurs.

Before joining San Antonio in 2001, Bowen was a role player on three different teams. He didn’t find his stride until the 2000-01 season, when the Miami Heat played him in all 82 games and started him in 72 of them. That established his defensive value and led to the Spurs giving him multiple contracts throughout the 2000’s.

In 2012, the Spurs recognized Bowen’s greatness, by retiring his No. 12 jersey. It stayed in the rafters for three years, untouched, until he allowed LaMarcus Aldridge to use it when he signed in 2015 free agency.

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