When news broke on Tuesday that San Antonio Spurs star point guard Tony Parker would be out “for the foreseeable future,” a lot of eyebrows were raised. The Spurs are known for resting their stars more than most teams, and that has been especially true in recent years as the members of their Big Three continue to age. However, this one seems different, almost alarming, but Spurs fans shouldn’t worry.
Naturally, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich hasn’t said much about Parker’s sudden leave other than that it’s because of “a variety of maladies,” which basically means we’re going to be kept in the dark. However, the little bit of information Pop did provide tells the whole story if you’re at all familiar with the NBA’s old-school team:
“He doesn’t have a pulled hamstring or anything, but the’s got a lot of little things.”
After citing the fact Parker has played “a lot of basketball” in the past few years between the Spurs and the French national team, it all made sense: He’s giving Parker mental and physical rest to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs.
Just like last season, the Spurs are quietly preparing themselves for another title run, although they’re not really on anyone’s radar. Not many predicted them to push the Miami Heat to the brink in an epic seven-game NBA Finals series, but they did and the same applies this year. However, Pop believed that to be possible in the summer of 2013 and he believes it to be true this year as well, which is why he’s more concerned about his team’s health in the postseason rather than the playoff stretch run.
Parker is banged up and all that basketball Pop described is now taking it’s toll: “It’s caught up to him.” For a player who carries the Spurs on a nightly basis from an energy standpoint, Parker has battled through it gallantly, but he also knows that what Pop is doing is the best thing for him and the team, saying he hasn’t been himself lately and Pop “wants me to be 100 percent.”
So while the Spurs may only win 60 percent of their games without Parker instead of their current pace of 70 percent, they’ll still be a relatively high seed in the Western Conference Playoffs and if Parker isn’t completely healthy at that point, the Spurs have no shot at returning to the Finals. But Pop knows that and he’s taking the necessary steps to ensure that’s not the case.