Former NBA player Kenyon Martin made a guest appearance on Fubo Sports, where he talked about his favorite matchups and going up against Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Both KG and Duncan officially became members of the HOF, and rightfully so, as they are one of the best power forwards in NBA history. Martin had an opportunity to go against both of them multiple times in his career, so he is one of the best people who can describe what they are like and what makes them unstoppable.
He immediately said both of them are absolute legends of the game; however, when it comes to which one was harder to guard for Martin, he said that player was Duncan. According to Martin, Duncan played in his own tempo, constantly trying to get into a favorable position from which he can operate.
Most guys I could speed up and make them play at my pace. I could frustrate you, I could do this, and I could do that, but with him, it didn’t matter. He was going to play at his own pace. He was going to get to his spots. He was going to shot the shot he wanted to shot, and I just had to make that shot as hard as possible.Kenyon Martin, via Fubo Sports
Martin also stressed out it wasn’t easy playing against Garnett, but he could figure him out, at least to a certain degree, to slow him down. With Duncan, it was different as he knew how to take advantage of every situation to the best of his abilities and use several moves in the paint to score.
With a guy like KG, I knew what he was going to do so I could make him do something different. He might make a tough shot, but I can manipulate the way he took shots. KG is a dominant right shoulder guy, and I knew this. Playing me, you can’t go right shoulder. You gotta go and do something different. But with Tim, the only thing Tim knew he couldn’t do play with the ball down low with me. So when Tim wanted to make his move, he made it.Kenyon Martin, via Fubo Sports
Playing against Duncan helped Martin realize basketball is a game in which you need to use your brain to outsmart your opponents. That is what Duncan constantly did against every player he played against, and when Martin saw he was getting beat down by Duncan’s high basketball IQ, he knew he would have to learn and adapt.
Tim made me start realizing I have to do my work early. Defensively I have to meet him at the free-throw line. He made me turn my brain on because I was there physically. He is thinking, so now I have to think. Not saying that KG wasn’t doing the same thing, but me and Tim battled on the highest level in the NBA finals, and he was my matchup. It became a thinking game for me, not just the physical part. It made it fun, frustrating at times, but we definitely battled all of them deserving first-ballot Hall of Famers.Kenyon Martin, via Fubo Sports
In their prime, both Garnett and Duncan were one of the best two-way players in the NBA. There was always a debate about which one was better out of the two, with many fans siding on Duncan’s side because of five NBA titles compared to Garnett’s one. However, others would argue Garnett lost his best years playing for the Timberwolves, and if he had a team similar to the Spurs, he would’ve had more success in the playoffs. It’s always great to hear what former NBA players like Martin think about this topic because he had the opportunity to face them multiple times throughout his career. So if he makes a case for Duncan as a more outstanding player, we can only respect his opinion because he actually has the experience to back up his statement.