San Antonio Spurs History

Who Was the Most Important 4th Man During Spurs' Title Runs?

David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, Tony Parker
David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, Tony Parker / PAUL BUCK/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs David Robinson / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs' Ultimate 4th Man 1A - David Robinson

While the Spurs' first NBA title in 1999 wouldn't have been possible without the arrival of Tim Duncan, it certainly wouldn't have happened without David Robinson either. The Admiral finally had his second tower to help him over the top, and he more than played his part to the tune of 15.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game in that postseason.

Robinson had nine double-doubles in 17 playoff games to play a crucial second-fiddle role to a 22-year-old Tim Duncan already in the midst of winning his first NBA Finals MVP. While he definitely was the second man and not the fourth here, Robinson played the fourth man role in 2003 after the arrival of the Big Three.

While a 37-year-old Robinson's stat-line of 8.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game don't jump off the page as star numbers, it can't be understated just how valuable his defense still was. After blocking 40 shots in the 1999 playoffs, he blocked another 31 to help the Spurs clinch their second title in 2003.

Robinson's presence inside alone was a big reason the Spurs had the NBA's third-best defensive rating that season and allowed just 82 points per game by the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals. He also went out with a bang, scoring 13 points and grabbing 17 boards in his final game.