Tony Parker’s career year

By Quixem Ramirez

So, Tony Parker has enjoyed a pretty successful 2011-12 NBA season. I think.

He was named to his fourth All-Star team. That’s especially impressive considering this is the golden age of point guards and he had to differentiate himself from Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio and Russell Westbrook.,

During a dominating 42 point, 9 assist night against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 4, Parker moved past Avery Johnson as the franchise leader in assists.

A mere 11 days later, Parker followed up his best performance of the season with an equally impressive (if not more so) 34 point and 14 assists against the inept, but ripe with potential, Toronto Raptors.

Without T.J. Ford and Manu Ginobili for more than two-thirds of the entire season, coach Gregg Popovich has relied on his speedy 29-year-old floor general and TP’s steady production, 19.4 points and 8.1 assists, has been one of the many reasons the Spurs hold the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a 24-10 record.

In his 10th NBA season, just when you would expect someone who relishes contact, gets to the rim extensively and does not have a consistent mid range jumper to slow down statistically, TP is still producing. He has career highs in assist rate, free throw rate and he has the lowest turnover rate of his career. His 22.2 Player Efficiency Rating is 5th among point guards and 20th overall.

February 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) and center Tim Duncan (21) celebrate during the 103-100 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Now he has been nominated for Western Conference player of the month.

Expected to shoulder the load of an aging basketball team (that is secretly young, but don’t tell the media), TP has managed this team with grace, exhilarating speed and precision.

As we all know, the Spurs offense isn’t a simple offense to run effectively. Spurs fans know the vast potential of the system and if there is any semblance of inefficiency, you are bound to hear it. The transition from defensive juggernaut to an aesthetic appealing offensive team (that somehow still isn’t appealing to basketball fans) took awhile.

He wasn’t always the complete point guard Spurs fans wanted him to be. But he was always sufficient. Now, merely “sufficient” would understate his transformation into one of the elite players in the league.

It’s time to stop obsessively pondering potential TP deals. I’m just as guilty as the next guy of that feat. I wasn’t always a fan. I respected his game but, subconsciously, I always felt there was someone better, someone capable of simultaneously elevating the effort of his teammates, something that TP always lacked. I don’t feel the same way anymore.

Let’s just enjoy the ride, shall we?