Former lottery pick reveals Tony Parker gave him 'welcome to NBA moment'

San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets
San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Spurs earned a reputation for implementing "The Beautiful Game" to dismantle opponents, a style of selfless team-oriented basketball where the best interest of the group comes first. This playstyle was particularly evident when San Antonio won their most recent championship in 2014, and former lottery prospect Emmanuel Mudiay had a firsthand encounter with the power of their chemistry while defending Tony Parker in his rookie season in the NBA.

In a recent podcast appearance for Run Your Race on the Tidal League Network, Mudiay shared his experience matching up with the Spurs. The seventh overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft recounted a game against San Antonio where the Gregg Popovich system and Parker's talent combined to leave him feeling lost on the court. It was then that the young Denver Nuggets point guard realized he was up against one of the best scorers in the world.

Mudiay recalled his early experiences in the association, where he ran into some of the greatest players of all time, including Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. However, it was defending Tony Parker that handed him his unavoidable "welcome to the NBA" moment. He witnessed the effectiveness of San Antonio just months after they won their fifth title, and he remembers thinking, "I don't know what to do" when their offense started firing on all cylinders.

The Congolese floor general suited up in the NBA from 2015 to 2022, and he is currently playing for Cangrejos de Santurce in Puerto Rico as he tries to return to the pinnacle of professional basketball. Emmanuel Mudiay had nothing but praise for Tony Parker and the Spurs, and he even expressed that the Hall of Famer was the most formidable opponent he ever covered in his career.