The San Antonio Spurs have been on an absolute tear the entire season, finishing with the league’s best record and dispatching some of the Western Conference’s best teams in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Heading into the a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, the Spurs only have one concern going forward, and it’s one that could eventually tip the series in favor of the Heat.
That concern is the health and strength of Tony Parker’s ankle.
The start point guard has been banged up for most of the playoffs, and Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder only further exacerbated the issue with his fragile ankle. Although Parker didn’t practice Tuesday, he is expected to start in Game 1.
Although the Heat organization may see Parker playing as another weapon the Spurs to have at their disposal, his reinsertion back in the lineup could benefit the Heat in the long run in this series. Even though Parker will be starting, he will not be 100 percent healthy, which means a lot of his speed and quick-cutting abilities will be drastically reduced.
The Heat’s point guard duo of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole will benefit from his reduced speed by being able to pressure him more aggressively, especially with the double team. This will cause more turnovers, allowing the Heat to get out and score quickly in transition.
Parker was a huge factor in last year’s Finals matchup, single-handedly carrying the Spurs’ offense at many points throughout multiple games in the series. If Parker is hindered by injury, his offensive abilities will be too. With the Spurs running one of the most cohesive offensive game plans in the league, Parker is just one less weapon the Heat have to worry about, but that’s only if his ankle is still acting up.