San Antonio Spurs: What’s next for the point guard position?
By Rob Wolkenbrod
With Tony Parker‘s season debut in the rearview mirror, how will the point guard position look for the San Antonio Spurs?
When Tony Parker tore his quad in the 2017 NBA Playoff, it signaled a lengthy recovery that would likely leave the San Antonio Spurs limited at point guard. Derrick White was drafted, Patty Mills re-signed and Dejounte Murray had another year on his contract, so nothing significant was done to change the point guard group.
While Parker sat for the first 19 games of the season, Murray started the first seven and produced solid results, at least initially. When his impact on the offensive end tumbled, Mills entered the starting lineup and remained. Until the 16-year veteran returned and reclaimed the spot, playing 14 minutes to the Aussie’s 28.
This was just a game to ease Parker into action and get him the warm reception from the AT&T Center in the opening intros. However, it may have been the first of many games he starts at point guard, leaving Mills and Murray with questions.
.@tonyparker already looks like he's in midseason form. ? pic.twitter.com/c8StTicnbv
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 28, 2017
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For Mills, he returned to his old sixth-man role for instant offense, and delivered 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting. It was nothing different from his spot in the first seven games and how head coach Gregg Popovich deployed him in previous seasons. So, not much will change there.
As for Murray, his role will become an ongoing storyline. He played just 5 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks, failing to score and grabbing 3 rebounds. This clearly made him the third-string point guard, at least for Monday night, and created questions about his role moving forward.
The Washington product won’t be stuck at the end of the bench, potentially finding extra time with Manu Ginobili‘s “DNP-Rest” games. The same goes for Parker’s rest on the bench. Otherwise, it will be an uphill climb. Especially as Bryn Forbes has taken consistent guard minutes in a perimeter-scoring role, something Murray is not.
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Essentially, the point guard position will revert to its 2016-17 form. Parker will start. Mills will play the sixth-man role. Murray will fight for minutes as the third-stringer. Unless Kawhi Leonard‘s eventual return changes this, there’s nothing else to see here.