Many are choosing the San Antonio Spurs to win the 2015-16 NBA championship. While it’s a fair expectation for such a talented ball club, the Spurs won’t live up to it unless Tony Parker performs at a high level.
Parker isn’t the focus of the ball club like he was a few seasons ago, but he is their most important player. He runs the show. He happens to play the most loaded position in the league. After all, the Spurs will run into Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, or Stephen Curry in their quest to the Finals.
Parker has never been known as a lockdown defender, and his latest injuries have only made that shortcoming worse. The 33-year-old struggled with Achilles and hamstring injuries last year.
He had his worst season in quite some time. Parker averaged 14.4 points and 4.9 assists, the lowest numbers since his rookie season. In the playoffs it only got worse, as he averaged 10.9 points and 3.6 assists. It was so bad that the usually efficient guard shot 36 percent overall and 59 percent from the free-throw line.
More from Air Alamo
- Spurs show remarkable poise against Bulls, unlike many fans
- Devin Vassell is the latest in the Spurs’ collection of silent assassins
- San Antonio Spurs: 5 Players to avoid in any LaMarcus Aldridge deal
- Is Gregg Popovich hiding Luka Samanic as a secret weapon?
- San Antonio Spurs News: More DeRozan trade talk from Chris Haynes
It’s simple: Parker must be solid for the Spurs to win. The Spurs have perimeter defenders in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to help Parker, who must be efficient on offense and work harder on defense.
A positive for the Spurs is that Parker shot a career high 43 percent from three last season. With Aldridge now a focus on the Spurs, Parker will have many clean looks.
I expect Parker to have a similar season to 2013-14 as he will be healthier this year. And if that’s indeed the case, the Spurs can earn their second title in three years.