Building the Hall of Fame case for Tony Parker over Pau Gasol

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs / Jeff Gross/GettyImages
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Parker dominated the playoffs

Gasol posted a career average of 17 points, 3.2 assists, 9.2 rebounds, and 53.% true shooting during the regular season. Parker racked up 15.5, 5.6, 2.7, and 50.8% during his regular season play. The playoffs were a different story. 

Come postseason, Parker easily put up 17.9 points compared to Gasol’s 15.4. Neither was ever seen as a shooting threat from deep, but Gasol barely outshot Parker. Come playoffs; Parker was posting a better clip than Gasol. 

Don’t get me wrong, Gasol never really disappeared when it mattered most, but Parker was the engine that kept the Spurs going after 82 regular season games. Kawhi Leonard really only shows up in the postseason. Before Kawhi, there was Tony.

Tony’s 2007 Finals MVP was well-earned and is the icing on the cake for his argument over Pau. He scored 24.5 points in the sweep, surpassing legends like Duncan and LeBron James. Parker orchestrated the offense perfectly and posted the points to show for it. Duncan was still clearly the best player on the team, but Parker pulled the rug out from under him in those four games. Gasol won two finals with the Lakers, and Bryant took home honors in both series. 

Parker was better to head to head

When Parker and Gasol played, Parker won the matchup with a 38-16 record, including 9-4 in the playoffs. In those matchups, Parker posted more points, as well. 

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I’m not saying that a 54-game sample size is enough to solidify a case, but it’s interesting that Parker consistently played better when it mattered. The four rings help show that, but Parker didn’t become the only player in NBA history with a winning record against every single team by playing subpar basketball. Both deserve to be in the Hall, but one is clear cut over the other.