There’s no denying that San Antonio Spurs franchise player Tim Duncan is one of the greatest defenders in league history — So why didn’t he win a DPOY?
Of the many great achievements by San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan, earning that coveted Defensive Player of the Year award never came to fruition. There’s no denying that Duncan is one of the single greatest defensive forces in league history. His rim-protection and shot-blocking were hugely influential for the Spurs until the day he retired, but there was more than meets the eye.
Duncan set the tone for his teammates defensively, taking on the best big man on opposing teams just about every time he took the court. His communication as a backline defender helped to uplift everyone around him and position them for success defensively. As he matured into the league, it was clear that Duncan saw the game differently from everyone else and instilled what he picked up on with the entire lineup, serving as an on-court coach for 19 seasons.
Last year’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo joined a historic group of players by earning the 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year trophy. He joined an elite class led by the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan along with Spurs great David Robinson, his rival, Hakeem Olajuwon and Duncan’s rival, Kevin Garnett. This incredible achievement brings about the question: How did Duncan walk away from the game with 15 All-Defensive selections without a single DPOY?
But first, let’s look at some of the historical numbers that Duncan posted in his run as a pro.