Monday, September 14, 2009
Tony Parker on the rise... The beginning of a new Spurs era?
By Robby Lim
Since Tim Duncan was drafted by the Spurs, he has been 'the man' David Robinson stepped aside to let him be the 'go to guy' and he was able to deliver. During the Spurs 4 championships TD has been the common denominator. The steady rock, the cornerstone, the fabric of the Spurs franchise. But as time goes on eventually things must change and Duncan embraced it. With the game of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili evolving, the 'Big fundamental' knows how and when to give way... It might have started at an early season game in 2007 where an NBA scout said this after the game they played against the Spurs.
The scout shook his head and said.
"It's amazing, Tim is the best big man in basketball, but he totally allows the Spurs to run their offense through Tony (Parker) because he sees the evolution of their team and understands that TP's development allows him more freedom. With teams now stopping the ball when Parker has it, Tim is even more effective and efficient in the post."
Later that year, the Spurs went on to win their 4th title and more importantly Tony Parker was named MVP of the 2007 Finals not Duncan. Some Spurs fans could even argue that in 2005 Manu should have been the Finals MVP although I beg to disagree; I love Manu, I have high regard and respect for the guy. But in my opinion the closest Manu could get then was to be named Co-MVP Finals with Duncan (by the way with the Spurs this is a non-issue). But in 2007, it's different (with all due respect to TD), Parker simply ran the show and even Duncan himself was gracious enough to be happy for Tony.
Parker continued to develop and further improve his game the next season as he averages 18.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. That year (2008), the Spurs finished 3rd in the West and faced the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. And for the 3rd time in 4 years, San Antonio prevailed; Parker had an outstanding series, averaging nearly 30 points and 7 assists a game.
In the next round against Chris Paul's New Orleans Hornets, the Spurs dropped the first two road games before responding with a strong win in the third game. In that game, Parker recorded a double-double with 31 points and 11 assists and the Spurs went on to win that series in 7 games...
Then last year, with Manu Ginobili sidelined for most of the season he averaged 22 points and 6.9 assists per game both career highs. Now he is currently leading a French team, that as of this writing remains unbeaten in FIBA, so you also gotta love the Frenchness in him (Great read from 48MoH).
And in this coming season? Parker could enjoy continued success as the floor general for the new-look Spurs. And with a revamped lineup that will include a healthier Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess and DeJuan Blair, the Spurs won't rely much on Parker's scoring, although the additional firepower could boost his assist totals.
Parker's main asset remains to be his speed and quickness making him one of the most effective guards inside the paint and he's also deadly in transition. But despite his overall brilliance and success, he is often over looked; prompting him to say this: "When there is talk about the best point guards, sometimes they don't talk about me. But that's not my main motivation, They can talk about Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Deron Williams and Chris Paul. I still have the most rings." That only indicates that he puts winning atop of his lists and don't get me wrong, I believe that Duncan still has 2-3 good years left in him, but as the youngest (and fastest) member of the Spurs' BIG 3 (He's only 27!), Parker is shaping to be the leader of the new Spurs era...