Misconception 2: "Duncan's Teammates Made his Success"
As for teammates, yes, Duncan had some great ones, for sure. The misconception that Duncan alone seems to suffer from is that he had all these other stars all in their prime and at the same time. That's plain wrong.
Returning to the 1999 championship team, critics need to make up their minds. To those who say Duncan had Robinson had a lot of support around him to win in 1999: The exact same team wasn't enough to get things done in the first round against the lower-ranked Suns sans Duncan just a year later. The argument is SUPER hypocritical.
Skipping to 2005, Manu Ginobili admittedly was a bonafide star second option for Tim Duncan, but even Parker's 17.2 playoff points per game need to be put in perspective. They came mostly inside off of either Duncan screens or in transition.
Bruce Bowen's defense certainly helped alongside Duncan's elite rim protection and rebounding, but Duncan truly was central to both the offense and defense for the Spurs. He paced the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks throughout the playoffs and started along a center who averaged 7.1 points and 6.7 in the playoffs -- and that was the Spurs' big pick up.
That's literally all the Spurs needed thanks to Duncan's two-way excellence. Brent Barry was a laser from downtown, but only made 1.2 threes per game. Robert Horry, who had some big games in the Finals, still only averaged nine points and five boards at a sub 45 percent shooting clip.
The 2007 title was much of the same, except Parker was the true second star while Ginobili slid into the third option role. Aside from Michael Finley, the rest of the Spurs' supporting cast deeply regressed. But even that is skewed. Parker's best games were heavily tilted toward the NBA Finals, where he eviscerated an aged Eric Snow and got to the rim repeatedly against a slow-footed Zydrunas Ilgauskas far more concerned with stopping Duncan.
Duncan, being the ultimate teammate, was fine taking the foot off the pedal to let a teammate shine after carrying the team to that point. But make no mistake, Duncan's 2-way brilliance was the Spurs and center of gravity, as he led the team in playoff scoring despite taking fewer shots than Parker.