Hidden amidst all the praise LeBron James and Kevin Durant receive for being the best players the NBA has to offer has been Tony Parker’s MVP caliber season and the Spurs’ point guard is quietly having a year that can’t be ignored.
The 2012-13 season has seen Parker fully transition into a true point guard, transforming himself from an unlikeable chucker on a boring team into a consummate floor general, and dare I say, the best point guard in the NBA?
Parker is rarely mentioned when the above statement is brought up, but the 12-year NBA veteran (it has really been that long) is completely deserving of the accolade.
The Spurs’ league leading record is often credited to the new life found in Tim Duncan’s 36 year old legs, but the reason San Antonio sits atop the NBA with a ridiculous 45-13 record has been the play of Parker.
Stats rundown: he’s averaging 21.1 points and 7.6 assists per while shooting an insane 53.6 percent from the floor and 83.1 percent from the line. In addition, Parker has improved maybe the second biggest weakness in his game, outside shooting, to the point where he is nailing the corner three at a 42 percent clip. Another glaring weakness from his past, defense, is also no longer the issue it once was- Parker is playing a very prevalent role in limiting opposing point guards’ PER to just 13.5.
His game has expanded from being a drive-and-kick player to a guy that actually runs an offence à la Chris Paul. He might not be on Paul’s level as a floor general, but who else is? Paul averages a slightly higher number of assists and his PER is marginally better, however, Parker trails that category by the slimmest of margins (behind James, Durant and Paul) and has been instrumental in the rise of Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard.
After thumping Jason Kidd and the Nets in the 2003 Finals, the Spurs all but had Kidd signed in what could have been one of the greatest free agency moves of the decade. Instead, the organization took a chance on their young point guard, who at the time was far, far away from being the established All-Star he is now, and the move paid off. Realistically, Parker has almost no chance of sneaking in and stealing an MVP award Steve Nash style, but in a league where big feats often go unnoticed, Tony Parker deserves some respect.
Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.