When the San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili went down with an injury early in the season, Tony Parker knew what he had to do. For a team that had been fueled by Manu’s offensive abilities for years, it was time for Tony to take the reigns.
Last season, Parker tried to compliment Tony in the playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, but it was not to be. The Spurs would bow out in six. This time, however, Parker took his game to the next level to keep the Spurs on cruise control against the rest of the league. I wrote back in February that Parker should be an MVP, and I’m sticking to it now.
Parker does not have the stats of a LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, or anyone else. But he also didn’t have a young team and superstar athletes to go with him. He had a very young bench, who are playing exceptional, but unproven. He has Tim Duncan who has not figured out he’s 35 not 30. And then there’s Ginobili, who can’t stay healthy.
Tony Parker has been the Spurs offense for most of this season. In just 32 minutes a game, Parker is averaging 18 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and has a PER over 22. Let’s to do a little math here. I’ll give you Bryant, James, Parker, and Kevin Durant, but without names and we will see how their adjusted stats go, based upon a 40 minute game.
22.8 points, 3.6 rebounds 9.6 assists, , 54% true shooting percentage, 22.07 PER
28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 61% true shooting percentage, 26.18 PER
28.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 60.5% true shooting percentage, 30.80 PER
29.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 52.7% true shooting percentage, 21.95 PER
So looking from this list, it’s obvious that Parker is A. Kevin Durant is B, James is C, and Bryant is D. So why does Parker still deserve to be in here? Durant has Russell Westbrook and James Harden that teams had to defend. LeBron James has Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Bryant has Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Parker? Tim Duncan and for just half the season Manu Ginobili.
Everyone knows what the Spurs are going to do, and is runs right through Parker. Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at some of the bigger matchups for the Spurs.
Feb 4 vs Oklahoma City Thunder
42 points, 9 assists
Feb 8 at Philiadelphia 76′ers
37 points, 8 assists
Feb 18 at Los Angeles Clippers
30 points, 10 assists
March 7 vs New York Knicks
32 points, 6 assists
I could go on and on. If you look at John Hollinger’s projections for Parker before the season started, you will notice he is averaging more points, assists, less turnovers %, and a higher PER, while is usage rate is up. Efficient.
Parker does not have the super star teammates, but is putting up some incredible numbers for a team that everyone knows the offense runs through. It’s one thing to have Wade, Bynum, or Westbrook next to you, not Daniel Green or Kawhi Leonard.
Follow Paul Troupe on Twitter @gamin4HIM