Tim Duncan Vs Lebron James Who Was Better Player 2022

Difference Of Tim Duncan Vs Lebron James: Careers, Honors, Awards & More 2022

In this blog, we will be comparing the two greatest basketball players of our generation: Tim Duncan and Lebron James. Both players have had amazing careers, but who is better? We will take a look at their stats, achievements, and impact on the game to try to answer this question.

Tim Duncan Vs Lebron James

Tim Duncan Vs Lebron James

NBA Championships and Seasons

Tim Duncan LeBron James
NBA Championships 5 4
NBA Seasons 19 19
Playoffs Played 18 15
All-Star Games 15 18

Honors and Awards

Tim Duncan LeBron James
Season MVP 2 4
Finals MVP 3 4
All-NBA First Team 10 13
All-NBA Teams

(Total Selections)

15 18
All-Defensive 1st Team 8 5
All-Defensive Teams

(Total Selections)

15 6
Scoring Leader 0 1
Assists Leader 0 1
Rookie of The Year 1 1


lebron james champion

  • LeBron James: 4 (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020)
  • Tim Duncan: 5 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)

In terms of winning championships at the top level, LeBron James does not have an advantage. James won four titles with three different clubs, including numerous Finals appearances with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Of course, he won the title in the 2020 “Bubble” with the Los Angeles Lakers over the Miami Heat. The 2016 title with the Cleveland Cavaliers is without a doubt the most important ring James has won. Down 3-1 against Stephen Curry’s Warriors, James had a fantastic Finals run in which he averaged 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 8.9 APG and accomplished a historic comeback to win Game 7.

But Tim Duncan has the advantage, having won 5 rings as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. His debut in 1999 was remarkable, as the big man took over the squad from Davis Robinson and won the Finals MVP title.

Duncan also won titles with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in 2003, 2005, and 2007, when the superstar power forward led the charge against the opponents. Of course, Duncan was a member of the 2014 championship team that witnessed the birth of Kawhi Leonard as a star in a duel against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Winning rings is the single most crucial aspect of a superstar’s career, and Duncan holds the advantage over The King. LeBron played with legends such as Anthony Davis, Dwyane Wade, and Kyrie Irving, but he was always the best player on the field.

Similarly, Duncan played with great talents such as Tony Parker, David Robinson, and Kawhi Leonard, and he was arguably the best player in four of those five series. However, in terms of total titles won, Tim Duncan holds the lead.

Advantage: Tim Duncan

NBA Regular Season Stats

NBA Regular Season Stats

Stats Per Game

Tim Duncan LeBron James
Points Per Game 19.0 27.1
Rebounds Per Game 10.8 7.5
Assists Per Game 3.0 7.4
Steals Per Game 0.7 1.6
Blocks Per Game 2.2 0.8

Totals Stats

Tim Duncan LeBron James
Total Points 26,496 37,062
Total Rebounds 15,091 10,210
Total Assis 4,225 10,045
Total Steals 1,025 2,136
Total Blocks 3,020 1,041
Total Games 1,392 1,366

Finals MVP Awards

Finals MVP Awards

  • LeBron James: 4 (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020)
  • Tim Duncan: 3 (1999, 2003, 2005)

In terms of being the best player on the team, LeBron was the indisputable best player on the court throughout his four championships. Even if Davis led the league in scoring in 2020 or Kyrie Irving scored the biggest shot of the 2016 Finals in Game 7, LeBron was the Finals MVP every time he won an NBA championship.

It’s incredible how James can instantly become the greatest player for a club wherever he goes because he is one of the most dominant figures in basketball. Looking back on his career, there was never a time when James was not the best player on the court for his team, especially in any of his NBA Finals appearances.

Tony Parker won the Finals MVP title in 2007, and Kawhi Leonard got it in 2014. Without a doubt, the Spurs do not win many championships if Duncan is not the team’s leader because his excellent two-way play was undeniably great.

Earning three Finals MVPs is incredible, and it has propelled him into the argument for being a top-10 player of all time. Of course, Tim is regarded as the best power forward of all time.

However, in terms of Finals MVP accolades, James has the upper hand. There was never a time when James was outperformed. Whenever James performed well, his team won the NBA Finals, and this pattern continued throughout his career. With four Finals MVPs to Duncan’s three, there is a clear winner, and it goes to The King.

Advantage: LeBron James

MVP Awards

duncan vs lebron james

  • LeBron James: 4 (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Tim Duncan: 2 (2002, 2003)

The King won four MVP trophies, ranking fourth all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, and Michael Jordan. In terms of consistency and dominance on the floor, LeBron may be the greatest regular-season player ever.

His MVP seasons were in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. With the Cavaliers in 2009, he averaged 28.4 PPG and 7.6 RPG, followed by 29.7 PPG and 8.6 APG the next year. His back-to-back MVPs with the Heat resulted in NBA titles, averaging 27.1 PPG and 7.9 RPG, followed by 26.8 PPG and 8.0 RPG.

Meanwhile, as a member of the Spurs, Tim Duncan won two MVP honors. The first award came in 2002, when the big man averaged a career-high 25.5 PPG, 12.7 RPG, and 2.5 BPG while shooting 50.8% from the field.

The following season, The Big Fundamental averaged 23.3 PPG, 12.9 RPG, and 2.9 BPG while shooting 51.3% from the field. Duncan had already established a Hall of Fame legacy by the early 2000s, having won back-to-back MVP trophies. However, the power forward has two fewer MVP awards than The King.

Finally, LeBron James has the upper hand, and it isn’t close. Again, James has been the best player in the league, at least since the 2012 season when he won his first title, and he already had two MVP honors before that season began. James enjoys an advantage in MVP honors, just as he does in Finals MVP awards.

Advantage: LeBron James

All-NBA Teams

duncan vs lebron

  • LeBron James: 18 (13 First Team, 3 Second Team, 2 Third Team)
  • Tim Duncan: 15 (10 First Team, 3 Second Team, 2 Third Team)

LeBron James deserves to be recognized for his tremendous longevity. He has played 19 seasons and made the All-Star Team 18 times, which is outstanding and even more incredible given that most players are not superstars in their late 30s.

LeBron James has been a true superstar his entire career and is regarded as the greatest small forward of all time. Because of his extended reign of dominance, James has made a staggering 18 All-NBA teams, just missing one in his career. 13 of the 18 appearances have been with the First Team, which is a remarkable achievement.

Tim Duncan has been named to 15 All-NBA Teams, including 10 First Team selections. Of course, those are great accomplishments, and we may never see a guy with this kind of consistency as a big man again. Even as he matured and lost some quickness, Duncan was still capable of making an impact on the defensive end of the floor by defending the rim and leading the offense from the paint.

However, Tim Duncan does not have an advantage against LeBron James because The King passed up the big man in terms of All-NBA choices three years ago.

Advantage: LeBron James

All-Star Selections

All-Star Selections

  • LeBron James: 18
  • Tim Duncan: 15

LeBron James is an 18-time All-Star, and he made every All-Star Team following his first season. In fact, the only time James did not make the All-Star team was as a rookie, when he averaged 20.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG. The superstar small forward has career averages of 27.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 7.4 APG on 50.5% FG, 34.6% 3-PT FG, and 73.4% FT. His numbers and play have been constant throughout his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Overall, James has been a continuous All-Star presence due to his excellent all-around skill. James has been an All-Star veteran and an explosive athlete with possibly the highest basketball IQ in NBA history. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had more All-Star appearances (19), but James has a chance to match that total in the 2023 season.

Tim Duncan, on the other hand, has 15 All-Star appearances. While this does not equal James’ amount of picks, it is an amazing accomplishment for a huge man. Most big guys struggle to stay fit for that long and frequently break down, as they suffer a lot of damage when battling in the paint. But Duncan is one of the smartest players ever, and he was able to have a long-term impact on the game. In the end, nobody has the longevity of LeBron, thus The King wins.

Advantage: LeBron James

NBA All-Defense Teams

NBA All-Defense Teams

  • LeBron James: 6 (5 First Team, 1 Second Team)
  • Tim Duncan: 15 (8 First Team, 7 Second Team)

LeBron James was a tremendous defender in his peak, but he has slowed as he has gotten older. It might be claimed that when James was with the Miami Heat, he was the finest defender in his position. However, James has frequently focused on the offensive end, which is where his statistics truly shined, but he was also an above-average defender due to his basketball IQ throughout his career.

At 6’9″ and over 260 pounds, James is a behemoth on the court, which is why he may be forced to defend many positions throughout a game. He can do it and has demonstrated that he is no pushover. Six All-Defensive Team selections are outstanding, but they pale in contrast to Tim Duncan’s total.

Tim Duncan is one of the greatest defensive stoppers in NBA history, having made 15 All-Defensive Teams, 8 of which were on the First Team. Duncan could still block shots and defend the rim as he aged. At 6’11” and 250 pounds, he was big enough to be a force even if he just stood in the paint. 

However, Duncan’s ability to predict what rival players would do helped him establish an all-time great legacy. The Big Fundamental will always have a defensive edge over 99% of players, including LeBron James.

Advantage: Tim Dunca

Total Win Shares

Total Win Shares

  • LeBron James: 249.5
  • Tim Duncan: 206.4

Win Shares is a statistic that attempts to distribute a team’s wins to each player on the roster. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set a single-season record for Win Shares with 25.4 in 1971-72 while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, who won 63 games. LeBron James clearly has a higher win share rating than Tim Duncan when it comes to contributing to a winning team and assisting his team in routinely winning games.

The Hall of Fame small forward is a statistics darling because he can do everything on the court at an outstanding level. His scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers are off the charts, and he is frequently a direct contribution to his team winning games. LeBron’s win totals rank second all-time, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Meanwhile, Tim Duncan’s win share rating is seventh all-time, trailing Kareem, LeBron, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and John Stockton. The big man has an impact on the game in a variety of ways, including a high field goal percentage and defensive stats, as well as outstanding rebounding.

Duncan has a high win share rate, but he must admit that LeBron has an advantage. If a player isn’t Kareem, LeBron will always have a PER advantage.

Advantage: LeBron James

Career Player Efficiency Rating

Career Player Efficiency Rating

  • LeBron James: 27.3
  • Tim Duncan: 24.2

Player Efficiency Evaluation, or PER, is a statistic developed by John Hollinger with the objective of providing a comprehensive rating to each NBA player. Hollinger’s PER metric is unique in that it considers both a player’s positive and negative contributions on the court.

With a PER of 27.3, LeBron James ranks second all time. That is an astounding rating considering how few NBA players have had PER scores of at least 25. Michael Jordan has the highest PER, as expected, with a rating of 27.9.

 Michael was able to score 30 points a game on 50% shooting, indicating that his PER will most likely always be the highest. But James comes close, and as one of the most impactful and efficient superstars of all time, his PER rating is pretty astounding. Not to mention that it is higher than Duncan’s.

Tim Duncan has a PER of 24.2, which ranks 17th all-time. Duncan clearly has an impact on winning since his two-way skill set is exceptional. Duncan had career shooting splits of 50.6% FG and 69.6% FT while averaging 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.2 BPG.

That is truly elite on any level, especially given Duncan played for 19 years and continuously discovered ways to make his talent shine even brighter in the biggest games. However, James is a statistical darling and eventually holds the edge in PER even against an all-time great in Tim Duncan.

Advantage: LeBron James

Final Score

Final Score Tim Duncan vs LeBron James

LeBron James vs. Tim Duncan 6-2

In the end, LeBron James has a substantial career lead over Tim Duncan, and that will continue because The King has a few more All-Star and All-NBA selections to add to his CV, as well as another title if things go well with the Lakers. So far, James has the advantage in our career comparison due to his remarkable dominance throughout his prime and his gift of competing at a superstar level for 20 seasons.

This offers LeBron the advantage of appearing in many more All-NBA Games while also boosting his overall stats. However, it should be noted that, as a dominant player and generational talent, James is clearly a more complete player than Tim Duncan. In this career comparison, 4-time Finals MVP and 4-time MVP LeBron James is regarded as the superior player with the superior career.

Even though both players are outstanding players with impactful playing styles, 6-2 does not appear to be a particularly close career comparison. Tim Duncan is one of the greatest rim protectors of all time. The Big Fundamental dominated the position because he possessed one of the highest basketball IQs in NBA history.

Duncan wasn’t simply a dominant defensive defender; his great scoring skills allowed him to average at least 20 points per game for nine seasons in a row.

Even as his athleticism and endurance diminished with age, he was able to defend the rim because to his intangibles, which is why he is regarded as one of the best big men in the game. Duncan presently ranks seventh all-time in rebounds and sixth in blocks among past and active players in the regular season.

Tim Duncan has not been a superstar in the NBA for as long as LeBron James has, and his awards for longevity, including All-Star and All-NBA selections, favor The King. Both outstanding players are considered among the best ten of all time and deserve to be honored for their dominance during their respective eras.

 Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time, and LeBron is the finest small forward of all time, but The King has the lifetime advantage since stats will always favor The King because of his extraordinary longevity, tremendous athleticism, and overall effect on the basketball court.

Read more: 


Is Tim Duncan a top 5 player of all time?

The former NBA champion took to Twitter to ask why fans don’t have Duncan in their top 5 greatest players of all time, despite him being the best power forward of all time. Duncan is a 5-time NBA champion, 3-time Finals MVP, 2-time regular-season MVP during his time in the league.

Is Tim Duncan one of the best of all time?

Duncan is the only player in NBA history with such a stranglehold on his position, and that positional dominance works strongly in his favor as the greatest of all time. At center, the case could be made for Kareem, Russell, Wilt, Hakeem, Shaq and Shawn Bradley (just kidding).

Who is better, Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett?

Tim Duncan recorded 2,092 assists in his career and ranked 22nd all-time for power forwards in that regard. Garnett, on the other hand, recorded 4,149 assists in his career and ranked only behind Karl Malone for the most assists by a power forward of all time


In short, it is clear that Tim Duncan is a better player than Lebron James. He has been more successful in his career and has proven to be more durable and consistent than Lebron. Additionally, Tim Duncan is a better leader and teammate and is more respected by his peers.

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