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
Bruce Bowen, Tony Parker / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs' Ultimate 4th Man 1B - Bruce Bowen

While David Robinson has a rightful spot as the most important fourth man throughout the Spurs' runs, he doesn't own that spot alone. Bruce Bowen's contributions to the team, while not as flashy and evident in box scores, were every bit as important as Robinson's.

Bowen was the full-time starting small forward for the Spurs in 2003, 2005, and 2007 and had the unenviable task of guarding opponents' best wings on a nightly basis. As a result of his stellar defense, Bowen was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times from 2001-03 and the NBA All-Defensive First Team five times from 2004-08.

Beyond making some of NBA's brightest stars have nightmare outings, Bowen's 3-point shooting was pivotal within the Spurs' offense. In each of the Spurs' championship seasons during his tenure, he shot above 43% in the playoffs.

Bowen's defense was always clutch, but he even had a clutch side offensively on occasion.

Bruce Bowen's jersey is hanging in the rafters at the AT&T Center largely due to his defensive greatness, but his reliability also can't be understated. He started in all 82 games for five straight seasons from 2002-07 and started in 81 in the '07-'08 season.

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At the end of the day, Bowen and Robinson were equally important to the overall success of the Spurs beyond the Big Three and both deserve equal recognition for the vital roles they played in the Alamo City. The Silver and Black would have a lot less gold in their trophy mantle without them.