Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) celebrate after game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. The Spurs beat the Heat 104-87 to win the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Russell: Tim Duncan ranks 'right up there at the top'

Boston Celtics’ legend Bill Russell has made his ruling on the best forwards of all time, and it should come as no shock that he’s a fan of now five-time NBA Champion, San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan.

Tim Duncan is “right up there at the top,” Russell told USA TODAY Sports.

Can you argue with Russell? He’s certainly “up there,” there’s no debate about that. The real question is whether or not he can one day be considered the best ever, a topic in which other respected folks from around the basketball media world have weighed in on with their opinions.

Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin makes his case for Duncan as the best ever:

Five championships over a 15 year span, with his team never losing more than 50 games (save for lockout shortened seasons) — Tim Duncan has had an amazing run of greatness.

He goes on later in his article:

For me, Duncan goes down as the greatest power forward ever to play the game (even though he spent a chunk of time in his career as a center, his best play has come as a four next to David Robinson, and lately Tiago Splitter). Yes, Karl Malone is in the conversation, but I lean Duncan.

Add, perhaps, Charles Barkley into the discussion because he may have been one of the best, but is often excluded due to his lack of championship rings.

But, it’s a no-brainer: Duncan is the best.

It’s worth noting, too, that his five championships have come during a time when everyone has tried to compare Kobe Bryant, and then LeBron James, to Michael Jordan. But the Big Man has quietly matched Kobe, and now has beaten LeBron in the finals.

So, the rest is up to you. Is Tim Duncan the best power forward ever? Hit us up in the comments section.

Tags: Bill Russell Michael Jordan NBA San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan

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