Tony Parker is consistently awesome. The 32-year old Spurs’ point guard has led San Antonio in scoring for the last four seasons. He attacks the rim with a near reckless abandon reserved for rec-league players half his age. He owns his own basketball team, ASVEL. Oh, and he speaks French.
Parker’s consistency was on full display Tuesday night in the 2014-2015 season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. He again led the Spurs on 9 of 15 shooting, scoring 23 points in the win.
It is funny how the most spectacular star on the NBA’s least spectacular team can still, 13 years into his NBA career, find some way to exist in the dichotomy of being a four-time NBA Champion while also be overlooked as the best point guard in the Association.
CBS Sports provides a ranking of the NBA’s best players by position entering the year. This season, Tony Parker landed in spot number nine. That position is right in front of Donald Sloan, and right behind Jeff Teague. For the casual fan that probably sits well. The upper tiers of this position ranking are reserved for the like of:
- Stephen Curry
- Brandon Knight
- John Wall
- Kemba Walker
- Chris Paul
- Kyrie Irving
- Eric Bledsoe
You know, the guys who haven’t won a title.
After all, there is really nothing overly exciting about Parker’s game.
Tony Parker doesn’t dunk. The last time perhaps he did was in a celebrity game in 2013.
Parker doesn’t break defender’s ankles like a Chris Paul. He doesn’t have the teammates that Paul, Jameer Nelson, or Kyrie Irving have stockpiled on their teams for no other reason than to catch the lob and slam it home.
If Parker’s game evolves in this way, much like Jason Kidd’s in his championship run with those Dallas Mavericks, he will give San Antonio four legitimate three-point threats.
No, there is nothing exciting about mastering the runner, the layup, or the mid-range jumper. Nothing pumps adrenaline less than passing to the 38-year old Tim Duncan in the pick and roll we’ve seen what seems like 500 times.
For his career Tony Parker averages 17.1 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game. He’s scored over 16,000 points in a career that has earned him a place in six All Star teams, four NBA titles, and one Finals MVP award.
On that opening night against the Mavs it appeared that Parker has added the three point shot to his repertoire by hitting four. He has made 412 of them during his career, so it is not surprising that he has that range.
It was the efficiency shown in the season-opener that should have fans excited. His career average from that distance is 31%, and he attempts less than a shot per game.
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On Tuesday night, he logged a perfect 100%. If Parker’s game evolves in this way, much like Jason Kidd’s in his championship run with those Dallas Mavericks, he will give San Antonio four legitimate three-point threats (Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Matt Bonner).
This new evolution could be just what Tony Parker needs to extend his career, and the Spurs need to secure back-to-back titles for the first time in franchise history.
So, as the year progresses we are going to see lobs on back-cuts, break-aways leading to dunks, and extra-worldly athleticism shown by point guards. More than likely none of those highlights will feature Tony Parker. But, we shouldn’t forget the unspectacular. If NBA fans have learned anything from the Spurs, the unspectacular wins Championships.