Tony Parker’s selflessness helped the San Antonio Spurs move towards the future.
There’s this “Spurs Culture” that Tony Parker described in his The Players’ Tribune letter to the San Antonio Spurs. It started with Tim Duncan and continued with players taking time out to help Parker in his development as a teenager and in his 20s in the early 2000s.
Years later, Parker continued this “Culture” and acted selfless, for the better of the team and its future. That happened when Dejounte Murray took over as the team’s starting point guard in January of this past season.
As Parker explained in the piece, it was his decision to step aside and let Murray, a 21-year-old point guard, handle the duties for the rest of the season. He described it as a “discipline thing,” but it became all about the “good of the Spurs.”
I came up to Pop one day, and I told him my thoughts: It was time for Dejounte to take over full-time as our starting point guard. I didn’t want it to be a dramatic thing, or this ego thing, or one of these big media things, but I just wanted to get it out in the open — for the good of Dejounte’s development, and for the good of the team. Pop agreed, and thanked me. And then I went and had the same conversation with Dejounte. He was grateful.
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Parker’s selflessness helped push San Antonio towards the future, the one that does not include him or Kawhi Leonard in one of the franchise’s most unusual offseasons. Veterans remain on the roster, but young talent continues to join the team through the draft (Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV over the past two years) and trades (Jakob Poeltl).
Murray is the face of this team’s youth movement, however, as the orchestrator of the offense, and after the physical tools he entered the NBA with began to come through; he put up seven double-doubles and four of which included five assists.
Now as the full-time starter in year three, it’s Murray’s time to grow into the spot that Parker left behind. It’s a critical period for his development, to see what these past two years of waiting, sporadic opportunities and learning from the four-time champion guard results in. The outcome may not happen overnight, but it’s the about taking a step forward.
Parker ensured an eye on the future for the Spurs, even with his departure just six months later, expected or not. He may no longer be there and in Charlotte, but the impact on the 2018-19 roster will stay strong.