San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker’s Injury and Future of the PG Position
By Rob Wolkenbrod
With Tony Parker’s injury putting him on the sideline until January, what could that mean for the San Antonio Spurs’ future at point guard?
In the Western Conference Semifinals, the San Antonio Spurs lost Tony Parker to a torn quadriceps, which he’s eyeing a January return for, according to Eurohoops.net. This contributed to the team being derailed by the Golden State Warriors, along with Kawhi Leonard’s Game 1 injury that left him out for the rest of the Western Conference Finals.
With Parker gone for about half of the 2017-18 NBA season, it puts the Spurs point guard position in question. They have in-house options, but with the NBA Draft and Free Agency approaching, there could be outside-the-box options for the front office to look at.
Parker is 35-years-old, so when Dejounte Murray was selected in the 2016 NBA Draft, it looked like a potential replacement at the point guard position. That wouldn’t come immediately, as Murray only played in 38 games and averaged 8.5 minutes in the regular season. However, he had a chance in the playoffs to get extended minutes, and while the Washington product’s plus-minus was -16 against the Warriors, he had 12 steals and 15 assists in the series, showing some promise in filling the stat sheet.
What will hurt Murray is his ability to spread the floor; he attempted just three three-pointers in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Patty Mills provided this presence, but he’s a free agent. So if anything, the Spurs may be looking to fill in this spot, given his ability to shoot and score in bunches.
An intriguing replacement could be George Hill. The former Spur is a free agent coming off a career season with the Utah Jazz, so the price tag would seemingly be high. However, he hasn’t played in 50-plus games for three of the past six seasons. That could drive the contract down and make Hill a potentially affordable piece if the team wants to spend the money.
The issue with bringing back Hill is what’s already there at point guard. Do the Spurs have enough confidence in Murray to pair him with someone who may look for a long-term deal? What about hope in Parker’s remaining years?
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There are cheap options like Darren Collison and Deron Williams, both of whom can be stop-gap options for Parker and fill depth for the second half of the 2017-18 season. They may be more reasonable than Hill, but also can’t be relied on long term due to declining play, injuries, or a lack of reliability as a full-time starter. So if Parker can’t come back by January and someone like Collison or Williams go down, then the point guard situation may be an even bigger question.
The all-out option would be Chris Paul, who’s also a free agent, and had San Antonio rumored as a legitimate landing spot for him. Despite this, Paul leaving the Los Angeles Clippers still seems like a situation everyone will have to see to believe, even after the team’s continuous, underwhelming playoff performances. For the Spurs’ sake, they’ll need to hope the Clipper organization doesn’t lock down CP3 in his house like they did two years ago to DeAndre Jordan.
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The immediate future of the Spurs’ point guard position is in doubt, while the long-term plan may still be in the works. It all depends on Parker’s injury and how the organization is looking at it for next season.