Mar. 27, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker during game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
In a similar model to ESPN, CBS Sports has undertaken the job to rank the crop of NBA players. Instead of an all encompassing list that accounts for every player in the NBA, they have distilled their job to the 100 elite players.
On a list of this nature, one would expect Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to appear pretty high on the list. (Ginobili finished 24th, Tim Duncan finished 20th and Kawhi Leonard also cracked the list at 72.)
The new impetus behind the Spurs’ No. 1 ranked offense, or at least a vast majority, ranked higher than premier players like Deron Williams, Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. Parker rose 15 spots from last year, finishing 13th.
“Tony Parker seized two titles this year. First, he’s now the most valuable member of the San Antonio Spurs. Second, he’s now the member of the Spurs that doesn’t get nearly enough credit on the national stage. There’s been a transition of power from Tim Duncan brewing in recent years, but 2011-12 saw the Spurs succeed in Parker’s image, the reason he jumped up 15 spots from last year’s ranking.
A ball-moving, shot-making, tempo-controlling offensive juggernaut, the Spurs put up the NBA’s best record thanks to what was probably Parker’s best season as a pro. His career-high 7.7 assists per game made life easier for San Antonio’s new crop of role players and his ability to break down defenders off the dribble and score when needed made the Spurs darn near impossible to defend for long stretches of the season. Seriously, pick an offensive category, and San Antonio was right near the top. The Spurs ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency, No. 2 in true shooting percentage, No. 1 in effective field goal percentage and No. 2 in assist rate. Parker got a little love as a possible MVP dark horse and wound up finishing on the All-NBA second team. He was also named to his fourth All-Star Game after missing out the two previous seasons. Like Duncan for the last decade, he seems to have no problem quietly going about his business of achieving excellence. As Parker is under contract through 2014-15, we can expect at least three more years of the same.”