Is Duncan better than Blake Griffin?

If you set the highlight reel aside and look at the numbers, the much older Duncan comes out on top.

Blake Griffin is an amazing, athletic talent and his game is extremely marketable for Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA. He is often on the giving-in of some of the most spectacular dunks in NBA history but that is all he is known for at this juncture of his career. Griffin has yet to bring a consistent post-game to his repertoire and no one takes advantage of that oversight more than Tim Duncan. Duncan (who is 13 years older) usually outplays Griffin when they match-up against each other, because he brings a level of substance to the game on both ends of the court.    

The San Antonio Spurs swept the Clippers in the 2012 playoffs and it was clear that the older Duncan had an advantage in the match-up. That trend continued in their latest regular season match-up when Duncan dropped a game-high 34 points and 10 rebounds on the Clipper’s front line. Griffin had a solid 18 points and 7 rebounds but it wasn’t enough to give his team the victory.

For the season Duncan and Griffin are both averaging around 18 points a contest but Duncan is rebounding at a higher rate—despite his age. Griffin even with all his athletic ability is not even averaging a single block per game and Duncan is almost averaging three.  Griffin is more efficient from the field at 54% a game but Duncan is right behind him shooting 51%. Duncan makes up ground though with his efficiency at the free-throw line, shooting 81% compared to Griffin’s abysmal 66%.

Duncan is proving to stand the test of time because of his offensive versatility. He can shoot the ball from the outside and score with a plethora of moves on the inside of the paint. He doesn’t need extreme athleticism to be potent in the league, so he doesn’t have to work as hard for his points. Blake Griffin relies far too much on alley-oop dunks and elementary post moves. He is still an up and coming star but until he takes his game to the next level veterans like Tim Duncan will always get the best of him in big games. It is the classic battle of substance versus style, and substance always wins the test of time.

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