With the 2015-16 playoffs now set, the San Antonio Spurs will be facing the Memphis Grizzlies in round 1. Tony Parker is coming off of what could be his worst season since his rookie year.
The Spurs hope to have a better outing in the post-season than they had a year ago. No series likes to go to an elimination game, and that is what happened last season to San Antonio. The Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, ending their quest for a sixth title in the franchise’s short history.
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This season San Antonio looks primed to make a deep run. With the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Andre Miller and Kevin Martin, this team is as ready as ever. Kawhi Leonard and Aldridge have picked up the scoring load. Tim Duncan, whose career is coming to an end, does not have the explosive moves that he once had. Leonard and Aldridge will lead this team, there is no doubt.
There is another player that has not had the best season of his career and could possibly be key for their deep run, and that is Tony Parker.
Parker is having his worst season since his rookie year in scoring. He is averaging just under 12 points a game. Since the 2012-13 season, he has seen his scoring average drop. Parker still does the little things to put his team in position to win ball games. The Spurs this season set a franchise record with 67 wins and a 40-1 mark at home, tying them second-all time in league history.
Parker may have had his best performance of the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder where he scored 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting. It was the first in 12 games that Parker had scored 20 or more. He has not had the season that most would have liked to see.
With Aldridge and Leonard doing the bulk of the scoring, Parker may not need to do a lot of scoring but some consistency could be the difference. Aldridge and Leonard will have their ups and downs during the playoffs. Duncan and Parker tend to increase their scoring average once it does start.
Parker in the playoffs has a career average of 18.6 points per game. Last year against the Clippers, he averaged 10.9. Parker’s aggressive play against the Thunder on the team’s second to last game is where he is deadly. Getting into the lane, drawing defenders to collapse on him to where he can still slip the pass to a player is what makes the team succeed. They feed off of him.
Though the Grizzlies are banged up and are going to be without one of their key players in Marc Gasol, Parker will still need to take advantage and utilize pick-and-rolls with Duncan and Aldridge. It is all going to be at the hands of Parker.
The hungry Parker will need to be front-center and lead the team like he has done in the past. We need to see the 2012-13 Parker. It may be far fetched but he still plays with the passion. The ‘big 3’s’ time is close to an end, and surely that will add more fuel to this teams quest.
The Spurs and Grizzlies tip off game one of the 2015-16 playoffs on Sunday.