This season, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker had the lowest usage rate and scoring average since he was a rookie, and he averaged the fewest minutes of his career.
More from Spurs News
- 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
The addition of LaMarcus Aldridge and emergence of Kawhi Leonard meant that Parker, who turned 34 in May, no longer needed to be much more than a game manager on offense. During the 2015-16 season, Parker’s penetration and ability to get to the rim slowly diminished. He has now turned into a shooter, but mind you, he was on top of his game when he could get to the rim.
He, in fact, was one of the best to get into the paint against bigs and finish at a high-percentage. Now his role is slowly fading away, and Gregg Popovich is now able to draw up more plays for Leonard and Aldridge. Parker can focus more on being the ‘coach on the floor’ that he is and pick his spots and set his teammates up.
A small role can get into a player’s head and make him start to act out towards his teammates and others from within the franchise. For Parker, he understands times change and he is willing to do what is right for the team.
Parker has never been one to complain about his role, and it could be reduced even more next season. The Spurs have been linked to Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley in free agency. Signing Conley would mean that Parker would move to the bench, which would be weird — he has been San Antonio’s starting point guard since November 2001.
Parker, in an interview with San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff McDonald stated he is not worried at all with what is going on. He states that his job is to make sure he keeps Popovich
Apr 24, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and guard Tony Parker (9) during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 116 – 95. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
“We talked about it all year long,” Parker said. “I am fine with it (a changing role), and going forward it’s going to be like that. As long as Pop is happy, I’m good.”
This offseason will prove to be another big step for the Spurs organization. Parker though is the least of the Spurs’ concerns. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili need to figure out whether they are coming back. San Antonio’s other area of need is youth and athleticism in free agency.
The Spurs were phenomenal on their way to 67 regular-season wins. Over the next few weeks, that same roster that led them to their franchise record in wins can change dramatically.
Through 15 seasons, Parker’s consistency has been a marvel. There was some worry that his body had broken down after disappointing performances in last year’s playoffs and EuroBasket.
As it is hard enough to think about life after Duncan and Ginobili decide to call it a career, it is also time for the Spurs to find their point guard of the future, as Parker too will be needing to decide his future.
If they can get Conley, they should outright pursue him and push as hard as they can. Parker, being an owner in his own right, is smart enough to understand the position that the organization is in.