Tony Parker showed flashes of brilliance last season for the San Antonio Spurs, the first campaign where it was fairly noticeable that this was his team. With an aging core and a relatively steady supporting cast, it became more and more obvious that the Spurs were controlled, at least on the hardwood, by the French star.
But what should they do if Parker suffers an injury and he’s unable to play?
Parker already was seriously injured before last year and struggled to remain properly fit through the schedule. As the Frenchman is not getting any younger, the Spurs should have a back-up plan just in case the former first-rounder misses a considerable part of the regular season.
Following the departure of Gary Neal this offseason, the Spurs have three options to cover a potential Parker absence: Cory Joseph, Patty Mills and Nando De Colo. Out of those three, however, it seems like there one preferred choice for the coaching staff.
Joseph seems to be the most reliable option at this point. The Canadian floor general has been a steady name for the franchise after being drafted with the No. 29 overall pick in 2011 as he has bounced between the D-League affiliate Austin Toros and the big club these two years. He has improved in every category and was able to make the postseason roster last season, proof that Gregg Popovich trusts him to handle high-pressure situations.
While he might not have the scoring capacity of Tony Parker, Joseph can make up for it thanks to his incredible court vision. He has a knack for delivering the right pass at the perfect time, and last season was clear that his teammates also trust him with the ball if any of the experienced guards aren’t on the court. In addition, Joseph has the youth and the work ethic to continue progressing steadily this season barring any significant injury.
The former Summer League All-Star should be used more often this season as Parker’s backup, and if his past years are a preview of what’s next in his career, then he could be poised to have a great year managing the Spurs’ offense in the absence of Parker.