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NBA Playoffs 2017: Breaking Down Tony Parker’s Playoff Resurgence

Apr 15, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) reacts after a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) reacts after a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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Tony Parker’s breakout performances against the Memphis Grizzlies were in contrast to most of his play this season.

Throughout the past couple of years, Parker has not been the player that he once was.

Parker simply does not have the quickness and shiftiness, which enabled him to fly around the court with reckless abandonment, throwing up his signature tear-drop floater and finding open teammates at will.

Despite his regression in recent years, in his game 6 performance against the Grizzlies, he looked like the player we all knew from years past.

I didn’t believe Parker was capable of having this type of series. Remarkable.

— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) April 28, 2017

To close out the out a resilient Grizzlies team, Parker finished with 27 pts, shooting 11-14 from the floor. He was a problem for the Grizzlies defense throughout the game, hitting clutch shots, knifing through the paint, and kicking out to shooters.

Tony Parker is clutch ? #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/z4bC3ay9LV

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 28, 2017

How Was Parker Able to Find Success Against the Grizzlies?

Parker was constantly open for three’s and had ample room to operate in the pick and roll throughout the series against the Grizzlies. This was due to the significant attention that Kawhi Leonard and LeMarcus Aldridge attracted as the main offensive threats.

Conley and Carter both follow Kawhi. Tony Parker finds Lee for an open dunk: pic.twitter.com/N5MAEKM8fc

— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) April 26, 2017

Is this Production Sustainable Moving Forward?

The obvious response to Parker’s recent playoff outbursts is simply: ‘Where has this been all season?’ This is a fair question. He has had a down year, posting his lowest PER and true shooting percentage since his rookie year in 2001-2002, per Basketball Reference.

His statistics will probably regress in the upcoming series against Houston.

Parker shot an absurd 53.3% from three and did not miss a single free throw in their first round series. His matchup against Patrick Beverley might also lessen Parker’s impact as a tertiary scoring punch behind Leonard and Aldridge.

Per ESPN, Beverley has posted the second best defensive real plus-minus among point guards this season. He is an outstanding defender, consistently harassing opposing guards with his in-your-face pressure defense.

What This Means For the Spurs Against Houston

Parker is the X-Factor for the Spurs in the series.

He will most likely find the same the open looks given to him against the Grizzlies. Again, this will be a result because of the constant help defense Kawhi and Aldridge will garner.

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The Spurs bench, minus Patty Mills, has been generally unproductive throughout the playoffs.

Therefore, the Spurs will go as Parker goes. What remains to be seen is whether or not the 35-year-old Frenchman still has enough in the tank to elongate this year’s playoff run.

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