Blogtable: Your Ultimate Pro

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Team due to surge, slip | Ultimate pro | Knicks or Nets?


San Antonio's Tim Duncan (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE)

San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE)

Mike Woodson wants J.R. Smith to be a pro. Your choice for the ultimate pro?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comTim Duncan. Next to him, the Rock of Gibraltar is J.R. Smith in full shot-jacking, shoe-untying, drama-queen mode. San Antonio’s now, Springfield’s soon enough, Duncan was 37 when he was 21, forever an adult on the playground.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comTim Duncan. ‘Nuff said.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Because I’m around him all the time and have now for years, my pick is Dirk Nowitzki. Total pro. Gives 100 percent every game. Plays through everything. And unlike just about every other athlete in any sport, he stands up in front of his locker after every single game no matter the circumstance and tells it like it is. No one is more genuine. Perhaps the most honest athlete, sometimes to a fault, of any athlete in pro sports.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: A lot of teams have at least one, so a single selection would be tough. And I won’t try naming all of them without going down every roster. But Shane Battier is that ultimate glue guy, smart and mature and always prepared. That’s a pro. Guys like Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin combine a special level of play with carrying themselves like pros. There are many others.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: It has to be Tim Duncan. He’s anchored the league’s best franchise on both ends of the floor and in the locker room for 17 years now. As he’s gotten older, he’s worked harder to stay in shape, so that there’s been little drop-off in his numbers. And his leadership, his willingness to be coached, has been the biggest difference between him and other superstars around the league. That’s been a key to the Spurs’ ability to, every year, bring in new role players that fall in line and seem to fit perfectly.

Shawn Marion huddles up the Mavs (Glenn James/NBAE)

Shawn Marion huddles up the Mavs (Glenn James/NBAE)

Sekou Smith, NBA.comFor all of the lives he’s enriched, careers he’s made, work he’s done on and off the court and the general excellence that has marked his entire career, Tim Duncan is, in my eyes, the greatest pro of all-time in any team sport. Seriously, he’ll never get the proper credit for doing it and doing the way he’s done it his entire career. But I’m not sure if I’ve digested the question properly. With Duncan as the standard, there are plenty of guys who embody the spirit of the question in some ways but not all. There is one other player, someone I feel is a bit underrated in this regard, that needs to be on the short list. Shawn Marion of the Dallas Mavericks doesn’t get the credit for being a guy that shows up year after mind-numbing consistent year and takes it to, as Mike Lowery said in “Bad Boys“, “takes it to the max, every day.” He’s had an exceptional career however you define it. He’s been at this longer than some of his current competition has been playing organized ball and while he’s never been a superstar, he has been an All-Star and a champion. Few players have stepped up to challenges, particularly defensively, the way he has over the course of his career. He was the unsung hero of the Mavericks’ championship run in the 2011 Finals (ask LeBron James) and has piled up career numbers and accomplishments along the way that might surprise you. His name is never mentioned when we’re talking about the ultimate, all-around, never-lets-you-down pros. But it should be, right near the very top.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blogTim Duncan is so consistently and stridently consistent that I have joked for years that he may or may not actually be a robot. The fact that I have been able to make the same joke — regardless of the level of humor involved — for nearly a decade speaks volumes to Duncan’s constancy. Duncan may be a superstar, but it’s purely because of his production, almost in spite of his personality. Duncan has a great sense of humor hidden deep inside (check this out), but nothing is more important than process and preparation. I’ll take Duncan over anyone else any day.

XiBing Yang, NBA China: KG is that kind of person. Twelve years in Minnesota, 20+10+5 for numerous seasons — we’ve seen him do it all. He never complains, and gets himself ready for every night. He’s an old-school player. I have no doubt about the (now) old saying that every coach wants Kevin Garnett on the team.  You can’t find another player who made all of his teammates and coaches love him so much, while making his opponents hate him the same way.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: In my mind the word “pro” goes hand-by-hand with one name, that of Ray Allen. He is the finest expression of professionalism. He works hard, takes care of his body, adapts to any kind of role, plays for the team and provides a perfect example for every young athlete. I’ve never seen him argue with a coach. He’s just always played at the highest level of intensity and concentration. It’s like watching a Bruce Lee film: he seems both calm and intense at the same time. And just remember that I haven’t even taken under consideration how good of basketball player he really is.

Adriano Albuquerque, NBA Brasil: First off, let me take this opportunity to remember Cheri Oteri‘s classic line on SNL and say everybody needs to SIMMER DOWN NOW! about J.R. The guy tries to mess around with some guys and untie their shoes and everybody loses their minds! It’s basketball, it’s all fun and games. It’s OK to let the guys play a little. Jarrett Jack threw Dorrell Wright‘s shoe to the stands last season and nobody made a fuss about it. Now, about that ultimate pro, I would go with Shane Battier. He is always regarded as one of those glue guys, he follows the blueprint set by his coaches, great leader, doesn’t complain about minutes, doesn’t ask for trades, knows his role … Has to be him, in my opinion.

31 Comments

  1. Tejas says:

    Of course it is Tim Duncan. Anybody who knows anything about basketball would know this.

  2. B-ball-blog-a-holic says:

    Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman

  3. sports fan says:

    KG is nowhere near an utlimate pro when it comes to sportsmanship. He didn’t shake hands with the opposing team after he lost in the playoffs. When Dr J lost in the finals he actually went to the opposing team’s locker room to congratulate them. That is ultimate pro sportsmanship. In my mind Tim Duncan is a lot like Dr J.

  4. ism says:

    I would like to step up and defend Mr. XiBing. Although KG as ultimate pro is a reach, I can see his point and although KGs behaviour may not be blueprint professional he is certainly a great among greats who are, mind you, ALL ultimate pros compared even to most other professional basketball leagues.

    But, as I said above, my vote goes to Ray Allen. Mr. Triantafyllos found very fitting and poetic words for this, which i overlooked in my first egocentric rush to express my own view.

    And I think, although NBA.com and its whole staff including writers set a damn high standard, international NBA franchises are starting to keep up coverage-wise. Even as late as 2012, mos tof NBA Germany was a mess: too little writers, too little good writers, no real identity. Now, it has definitely improved a lot. And the only way for it to get even better and match up with NBA.com while providing an international flavor are features like this and more. Way to go!

  5. exiled says:

    Tim horton Dunkin you cant go wrong, other like Marion too is so underrated

  6. markikoy says:

    Tim Duncan is right!

    I don’t think Joey Crawford would agree though. XD

  7. ash says:

    Tim Duncan best that has played the game. KG come on now? really KG?? his a big joke

  8. yeah right says:

    tim duncan stinks. he is boring, slow, and doesnt know the fundamentals of basketball. i mean have you ever seen him play? puts me to sleep in the daytime. case closed.

    • Tim Duncan says:

      I don’t care. I don’t even like you. I’ll keep this brief because it’s difficult to type with so many championship rings on my finger.

    • Queirós says:

      I’ve seen him play time and time again… and he’s the “Big Fundamental” so you saying he doesn’t know the fundamentals of this game makes you look little better than an idiot…

      Case closed, bag it and tag it!

  9. Frankie D says:

    I would say Tim Duncan, Kevin Johnson, Sean Elliot. But to speak on J.R. Smith the owner and Coach need to be on the same page, and J.R. SMH (shake my head), he is a me first player what I call Sidney from “White Men Can’t Jump” you would rather lose and look good then win and look bad type of player. You could never win a ring with this guy, dump him now and eat the contract or sit em and make him go through that and never play him force him to walk out.

  10. demagofrak says:

    duncan is the incarnation of the word professionnal. it takes a real discipline and a real education, school, parents, teachers, good peoples, positives and cleans.
    so you won’t see him try to go at shoes and flop, just win titles, mvps and milestones, without a SMH attitude.

    special bonus to chris webber, out of shape old man (fake start, push the lineee with the handsss, time ouuuut) who have mobbed a poor couple at TV, showing how odious and what type of smart and fun guy he is, typically representative of the nba today, smh factory, i would be that ice cream guy, the long strange old legs would be broken

  11. Lebron Chris Wade says:

    KG!!!!!!??? He is good but the dude is a little mean. Like the ray allen handshake thing. Dude never smiles either. Even if he hits a game winning shot he will still looked pissed.

  12. ben says:

    metta world peace should be here

  13. BBall Fan says:

    Steve Nash anyone?

  14. ism says:

    Hard to argue with Duncan. Marion and Nowitzki are always no-brainers. But, seriously, the one that pops out most to me – and I mean this with a loud POP! – is Ray Allen. The shots he makes, the height of his release, his ability to SLAM it home at one year OLDER THAN TIM DUNCAN is downright shocking. I read about how obsessively disciplined he is, including nutrition, and although he has never been the franchise-carrier and superstar Tim Duncan is, my vote for ultimate pro goes to Ray Allen.

    I might add that my vote for ultimate pro-TEAM since Russell’s Celtics would probably go to the San Antonio Spurs of late but that is a different story, mind you it shouldnt take away any of Tim Duncan’s importance.

    And I am eagerly waiting for a feature on NBA.com on Ray Allen’s athleticism at the age of 38.

  15. dustydreamnz says:

    I disagree Kevin Garnett is a pro, he argues with the refs all the time amongst other things. You don’t see Tim Duncan doing that.

  16. sammmmmmmmy says:

    TIIIMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYY

  17. Tikolo says:

    STOP PAYING SOME OF THESE PLAYERS A LOT OF MONEY, THEY WOULD APPRECIATE LIFE A LOT MORE. IF THEY MAKE MILLIONS AND YOU ASK THEM TO PAY $50,000.00 FINE, THAT IS LIKE PAYING PEANUTS. LET THEM EARN THEIR MONEY LIKE WE ALL DO. THEN YOU WILL HAVE A LOT OF ULTIMATE PROS.

    • ism says:

      except we all are doing jobs that we all can do. how many people are able to play like tim duncan, kobe bryant, lebron james, paul george or kevin durant? and they dont just play, they also create and enlarge a market around them, so, please consider your comment worthless.

  18. kaibaboy says:

    TD is my hero all the way…Unless Derek Fischer’s 0.4, Ginobili’s last second foul to Dirk, ref Joe Crawford in 2006 and Ginobili and a bad destiny 2013 does not happen, HE WOULD DOMINATE THE GAME VERY BADLY…Anyway, he is real pro to shorten his role regarding his statu in game…Greetings from Turkey…TIMVP 21

  19. not so fast says:

    @Adriano Albuquerque Mr. Smith was warned by the league for his actions in a Sunday game. In the next game, on a Tuesday night, he did exactly what he was warned against doing. For that he was fined. It didn’t matter that he was playing with other players’ shoes, he could have been spitting on the floor for all the league cared, the fact that he completely ignored the warning from the league was the reason for the fine. That kind of behavior is exactly why people are upset. I don’t see the need to “simmer down” anywhere in that situation.

  20. Greg says:

    I could not agree more with you GerKut. KG is a cheapshot throwing (when the ref is not looking of course) choke artist who cramps when it’s time to be cool. When David Stern instituted the no fighting rule, KG whooped for joy, that means he can hide behind that rule.Tim Duncan is the king. Point. Blank. If you’re a GM and you want a good night’s sleep, pick TD and you won’t go wrong, on AND off the court…

  21. Franz says:

    This article was credible until I saw KG’s name. The guy is a joke.

  22. GerKurt says:

    Tim Duncan of course. And here is when you see that if you give the pen (or the mic) to a Chinese that don’t know about basketball you have an answer like KG. You can call Battier or D-Now, maybe they deserve a mention here, but KG? C’mon now.. KG? Being the ultimate pro means not only be in good shape every year and dominate the league no matter your age (talk to me about KG in last couple of years in that category) but means also be an example in and off the court and KG isn’t that kind of guy, KG talks too much and when it is not needed, he’s a dirty player, he use tricks every night to get inside his opponent, Duncan just go to work every damn night without saying a word and puts 20 and 10 here and there. So, it’s ok to try to reach out the global market, but ask Yao Ming opinion, Yi Jianlian, Sun Xue or whatever ex NBA chinese player, don’t put here some improvise guy that says KG.

  23. Mike says:

    KG??? Please. a guy who says an opponent looks like he has cancer or says happy mothers day to other guy knowing his mother is dead, very pro…

    • Ben says:

      Yeah IDK if those instances you are talking about are truth or rumors, but there’s always been a stigma placed on KG that he’s a dirty player. I would certainly take TD over KG, though.

  24. Andrew says:

    These guys all forgot Steve Nash is still in the league.

    • Black&Silver says:

      @Andrew Who’s that guy?! :P

    • jonathan says:

      Totally thinking of the same thing. steve nash, TD and KG that’s it

    • Another Heat Fan says:

      It has to be Tim Duncan.

      I mean I just had to do this, I googled “Tim Duncan technical foul”, and to my surprise I find hits on Tim Duncan technical foul and ejection.

      Yep. Imagine that, Tim Duncan, the pinnacle of Professionalism, ejected! I watch the video and it looks like Tim Duncan was just making some fun of Ref Joey Crawford. I read more and I found out that Joey Crawford was later suspended for ejecting Tim Duncan.

      Moral of the story: Tim Duncan is so professional the ref that ejects him gets suspended xD