Can San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker Compete With New Breed?
The term ‘point guard’ may evoke thoughts of past legends like John Stockton of the Utah Jazz, Magic Johnson of Los Angeles Lakers or Gary Payton of the Seattle Supersonics. These names are far from the prototype point guards of today such as Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder or Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
In the past, the point guard had a pass-first and shoot-second mentality that seems to be fading more and more with every game played. The fans do not want to see a point guard walk the ball up the floor, set up the offense and make an efficient pass to get the best shot available. They want to see the highlight-reel plays and dunks that have nothing to do with good basketball.
A new type of point guard has infiltrated the league: they are athletic, explosive and can score with ease. Parker is a throwback point guard in the sense that he isn’t the most athletic and will not posterize anybody with a highlight-reel dunk. He will run an efficient offense, score when needed and make the right basketball play.
Parker has proven himself as a premier point guard in the NBA time and time again. He seems to get slighted when the discussion of top point guards comes around, and people seem to forget that he holds three championships and one NBA Finals MVP.
Since Parker has entered the league, his game has changed from a facilitator of Tim Duncan to more of the creator of the offense now that Duncan is older. Gregg Popovich looks to Parker to carry more responsibility on the offensive end, but this does not always translate into shooting as today’s point guard would do.
Due to the injuries of Westbrook, Rose, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, Parker has not been able state his case against the top-tier point guards. However, he continues to average a consistent 17.7 point per game and 6.2 assists in his 13th campaign for the Spurs.