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Thursday, February 28th, 2013 at 2:30 pm  |  62 responses

Tony Parker Content to Fly and Dominate Under the Radar


by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

Despite averages of 21.1 points (on 53.4% shooting from the field), 7.6 assists, while leading the NBA’s best and most under-appreciated team, Tony Parker continues to be overlooked. And though Gregg Popovich is still beating the drum for his floor general, he’s fighting a losing battle.

That’s fine by Tony Parker, long as the wins keep piling up.

Per Yahoo! Sports:

Tony Parker spent time in the summer playing basketball in his father’s native Chicago during his youth, but was mostly raised in France. When it came time to decide the next step of his burgeoning basketball career, the San Antonio Spurs’ guard was “very close” to going to UCLA or Georgia Tech before opting to begin his pro career in France. That decision, according to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, is the primary reason why Parker has seemingly flown under the radar for so long.

Parker is aware of the lack of attention, but he is more concerned about wins.”It’s better late than never,” Parker said. “That’s not what drives me. What drives me is winning championships. I always knew my time would come because Pop always challenged me.” [...] “LeBron is the best player in the NBA, by far. But if you want to give it to someone to change it, why not [me]?” Parker said with a laugh. “Charles Barkley had it one year [1992-93] even though M.J. [Michael Jordan] was the best player. Steve Nash got it [twice from 2004-06] even though Kobe [Bryant] was the best player in the NBA. But for me the most important thing is we win. If it [the MVP] happens, it happens. If not, LeBron is unbelievable. But for me, I don’t think about it. It’s not in my hands.”

Tony Parker is certainly part of MVP debate, but the award this season (and perhaps for the foreseeable future) clearly belongs to LeBron James.

The San Antonio Spurs’ point guard will have to settle for steering his squad towards yet another unexpected title run.

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  • http://twitter.com/HuwLHopkins Huw L Hopkins

    I’d prefer a finals MVP to a season MVP. Thats where he’s headed again

  • theDankerNuggets

    good point about those Nash mvp’s, sometimes the league has avoided giving it to the best player just because no one really wanted to see them win it yet again, and everyone did want to see someone else get recognized

  • thetruth

    The reason they’re under the radar is because season after season they end the regular season with one of the best records and then fail in the playoffs….. sorry Spurs fans but odds are it happens again this year. But as a Laker fan i’m rooting for them because I think they’re the only team with a chance against Miami (outside the Lakers of course… yep still believe)…. definitely don’t want to see another flop by OKC in the finals…

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Yeah but Nash was actually amazing. He left the Mavs went back to the Suns averaged 11 assists shot 40 – 50 – 90 and led the team to a 62-20 season after the previous season where the Suns had a 29-53 record.

    Kobe played well in 04 as well but his team didn’t make the playoffs and everyone was putting him on blast about being uncoachable.

    How do you say that Kobe should have deserved it over Nash if he didn’t even lead his team to the playoffs that year?

  • Slick Ric

    53% FG shooting for a PG….

  • LakeShow

    Craziest part… He’s shot a full percentage point over that, over the course of a season in the past.

  • i_ball

    The have one 4 rings with the same core. How is that failing?
    And btw it’s an odd year so don’t count them out just yet;)

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Well Kawhi Leonard is really starting to shine

  • http://www.facebook.com/rainman1991 Saleem Rainman

    same with with Karl when he won it over MJ, same thing with Charles when he won it over MJ, same thing every year from 1987 on forwards when MJ didnt win the Mvp… Its given to the most VALUABLE player, which isnt always the BEST player in the League. Period. Its not the MTP (Most Talented Player).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol. they have finished with the best record in the NBA for the last 2 years (this will be #3). And haven’t sniffed the finals since 2007

  • jaycee

    They got stunned by memphis 2 years ago who were THE hot team in the playoffs. OKC played outta their skin last year to scrape through. Any other time theyve fallen short its usually been Manu missing the most important part of the season coming into the playoffs. TP you are a beast, Im happy our guy Patty Mills gets to learn from him. Hope to see him get some shine in the near future.

  • Jerome

    Parker deserves the season MVP at the rate he’s playing. His ability to make others better with seemingly little effort is awe inspiring. If the Spurs win it will be because Tony led them there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    All right, this is starting to get out of hand. Don’t get me wrong, TP should be in the middle of the MVP convo but all the talk about him deserving the trophy is downright foolish. LeBron, KD then CP deserve it more than TP.

  • pposse

    *Chicago Bulls had best record in the NBA past two seasons

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    50-16, both teams last season.
    .
    61-21 SAS (2011)
    62-20 CHI (2011)
    .
    Close enough for you to get the point.

  • The Fury

    Ginobili was hurt back then (against Memphis) and Tim was gimpy, also they have a smaller, weaker bench that time against Memphis. Last year they almost had it until James Harden happened. So if losing in the WCF is considered a failure to you, I don’t know how high your Basketball IQ/Appreciation skills are.

  • Max

    *Bulls and Spurs were tied last year.
    *Bulls were 2 years ago.

  • Ben Ireland

    Chris Paul is easily my favourite player in the League, he’s amazing to watch. But no way does he deserve MVP over TP, not a chance. Parker’s team is much better, despite being relatively equally talented, maybe even a slight edge to the Clippers. Paul’s been hurt alot and missed a chunk of the season, while the players around Tony have been hurt throughout the season. And Parker’s killed CP in individual matchups… Sorry, CP should be second team All-NBA for this one year, I’m afraid. Tony’s been killing it.

  • RayJr

    Did you not see TP destroy CP3 the other night?

  • RayJr

    Danny Green has a better outlook the Kawhi.

  • RayJr

    I think he means in the past couple of seasons.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    with Paul, the Clippers are 35-12.

    ,

    Considering the Spurs are actually the better team. (how you give an edge to the Clippers is befuddling. Vinny Del Negro is their coach. First and foremost, and without Paul, as you can tell the team is just average (6-6)) i think the argument that Paul has been more valuable is pretty damn good.

    .

    Especially considering the Spurs are 3-1 without Parker.

  • http://SLAMonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Too bad first and second runner up means next to nothing when it comes to MVP. Tony pretty much knows he’ll never get the award.

  • RayJr

    I agree. They will once again win the West but mos def lose in the 1st or 2nd round. They can’t beat anyone in a series anymore because TP is all they really have and if you can stop him from penetrating and close out on 3 point shooters then you can beat the Spurs. Teams figure them out in the playoffs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    Sure…lets just go off one game to decide the MVP. I guess Paul George is the MVP since he outplayed LeBron the last time MIA/IND met.

  • Name

    The only team in the West that could give the Spurs real trouble is now a lot weaker (with the loss of James Harden), and the Spurs are actually stronger (Tiago and Kawhi’s massive improvement, Green getting more consistent shooting 3′s). Not to mention how Timmy is actually playing better this season than he’s played since 2007, and Tony’s having his best season yet.

  • Name

    LMAO no way, Kawhi’s a better defender and can actually do more than just shoot

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Yeah..no… Danny Green is a good shooter and defender that’s about it, Kawhi has a better toolset overall

  • justsaying

    lol close enough but if you like to stomp around being a stickler for specifics and numbers then you should hold your own standards.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Context.
    .
    The fact that they weren’t the best team by 1 win doesn’t change the message.

  • Slick Ric

    Yeah that’s ridiculous for a guard his size.

  • Ben Ireland

    I didn’t say better, I said more talented. How can you compare the sheer name power for lack of a better example of the two teams? Odom, Crawford, Bledsoe, Barnes, Billups, Butler v who exactly? Kawhi Leonard is an up and comer, but other than him, they’re solid role players at best. Neal, Mills, Splitter, Bonner etc. I won’t argue coaching of course, that’s not even nearly a close contest, but Parker has played more games, while missing his stars. He’s stepped his game up when needed. Paul’s been hurt and missed time and his team has struggled because he IS their coach (I give Vinny nothing.) and he is their system. Parker’s interchanged parts and made it work, scoring or dishing as the night depending on his teams needs. Don’t misunderstand me btw, I think Paul’s a better player. But this year, Parker’s been more valuable in my opinion. I hope Chris can stay healthy for the playoffs and burn through though, since I doubt the Lakers are gonna do anything; anything’s possible with that man.

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Did you see the Clippers losing streak without CP3?

  • theDankerNuggets

    I shouldn’t have said both I definitely think the first was well deserved. The second one though (I’m not going to google a bunch of stats to back up my argument cuz I don’t actually care that much) I remember thinking someone else definitely deserved it more.

  • theDankerNuggets

    Calm down I wasn’t even criticizing those choices. In my opinion, and what I was getting at but maybe should have phrased differently, so that it would be apparent, is that the people who choose the winner don’t seem to have decided whether they are supposed to be giving it to the most talented player or the actual most valuable to his teams success player.

  • AndyK415

    If only they would have got Al Jefferson or some other real big to play center, then they would have been a real, real contender this year.

  • Matt

    Not Al Jefferson. The Spurs need a big who can anchor the defense while Tim Duncan is out and generate attention in the middle via PNR or simply post presence. While I’m sure Pop would be able to rework his offensive system to include Jefferson (if he was acquired before training camp), Jefferson is absolutely terrible defending the PNR. He’s also not a very good weak-side defender either AND he’s too slow making his rotations (although his length tends to make up for this).

    But, of course, you did say “other real big” which probably means Bropez, Dwight, or Chandler. I think with any of these three, the Spurs would become the instant favorites for the title. Imagine Chandler on the Spurs… That would be amazing.

  • The Seed

    Steve Nash getting two MVP’s, is still ludicrous to me to this day. One for Amare being hurt and for team doing better than what people thought. When Nash has a great team around him and he still could not lead them to a NBA FINALS. LOL

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Well the first year they lost to the Spurs who went on to be the champs so it’s not like they played horribly, just got destroyed by the spurs. And he did lead the team to a 54 win season after Stat went down.

    That’s like if Blake Griffin got injured and CP3 led them to a 54 win season everyone would be saying CP3 MVP but Nash doesn’t get the same even though he averaged almost 20-10 a game?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    If you are going to call Chris Paul the Clippers COACH and WHOLE SYSTEM but not understand how he’s more of an MVP than Parker. Who, correct me if I’m wrong, is not even be the most important part of his own team. Unless you think the Spurs would do better without Popovich, than they would without Parker?

  • peregrine

    OKC played out of their minds in the last four games of the WCFs. They actually, for once, moved the ball in that series. Then they reverted back to one pass ISOs in the finals and promptly got their asses kicked by Miami. I find last year’s WCFs to be an aberration. OKC’s offense is still inconsistent like hell.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    The Thunder have the best offense in the league. What are you talking about? How is it inconsistent to be the best on average? Isn’t that the literal definition of consistent?

  • peregrine

    Kobe was obviously the better player. But Nash was MUCH better at making his team better. People forget that late in the 06 season Kurt Thomas went down, leaving Tim frickin Thomas as the center. That team could get NO boards and yet they still made it to the WCF. One of the most underrated playoff runs IMO.

  • peregrine

    They have a decent offense in spite of their lack of a system. They have great talent, not great offense. Also, check out their offensive stats when going up against the top 8 defensive teams in the NBA – not very impressive at all. When they play bad teams (and there are plenty in the NBA), they run them straight out of the building.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Top 8 teams in the West = http://www.hoopsstats.com/basketball/fantasy/nba/oklahoma-city-thunder/team/profile/13/21/1-12-1-eff .
    Which is what matters in this conversation.
    .
    And you were saying?

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.callihan1 Chris Callihan

    Who? Lebron?

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.callihan1 Chris Callihan

    They do have 4 rings…but when’s the last time they made the finals? I love the Spurs, but your logic just doesn’t apply considering their last finals appearance was 5 years ago. So yes, his point was valid

  • i_ball

    I think TP should frankly be third. No way he is above KD and LeBron. You can’t just punish a player for having a great coach. CP actually has better players around him.
    53% FG for a point guard, ain’t no arguing agaist this

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    they seem to not quite make it to the finals these days

  • Ben Ireland

    Yeah, but if you wanna make that your example, then John Wall’s a candidate, the Wiz are 1000 times better with him. But he’s not, because others are having better individual seasons. And honestly, I’d say Parker is esily the most important player on his team, and a wash with Pop for most important piece. Pop’s been grooming him for years for exactly this kind of performance. Parker’s outplaying near-everybody and the Spurs are leading the League yet again. Durant and LeBron are 1 and 2, but Parker deserves 3 this year. CP can catch him with more performances like last night though!

  • i_ball

    So not going to the finals is failure? I really don’t get that. The only season they were below par in the playoffs was that Memphis series – they really looked old then.
    To get to the Finals in the West you have to fight throug 5-6 really good teams and it’s been like that for 10 years maybe.

  • i_ball

    I think if DRose hadn’t gone down LeBron would still be chasing that ring. Small ball would have worked against the Bulls

  • Marcuz

    Imo the MVP award became null and void the year Tim Duncan won it over JKidd…..

  • eZ

    A popular thing these days to call players “underrated” and “under the radar”.
    Parker, he’s an
    allstar, a feature on his national team and in the mvp discussion but
    somehow everybody keeps calling him ‘under the radar’.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    judging by what happened the year before, there is no reason to believe that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Except, Tony Parker isn’t having a better season than Chris Paul.

    .

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=parketo01&y1=2013&p2=paulch01&y2=2013

    .

    See, there is this whole defensive issue. Where Chris Paul is exponentially better than Parker. There is the whole, Chris Paul turns the ball over LESS than he takes it away. While Parker turns the ball over more than he takes it away at a rate of 2.7 to 1.

    .

    Let’s also note that Chris Paul is more productive, in less minutes, using less possessions.

    .
    You want to argue Tony Parker is the MVP over Paul? Sure.
    .
    You want to argue Tony Parker has been better than Paul? Hell No. That is wrong. Blatantly wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the CP actually has better player’s around him thing is strictly an opinion. He has more catchy names around him. But it’d be really hard to convince me Tony Parker could do for the Clippers what Chris Paul is doing. While I would be willing to bet Chris Paul would not make the Spurs any worse. At the very very least.

  • RayJr

    I’m just going by what I’m seeing and at the end of games Pop usually favors Green over Kawhi. Kawhi is also tentative and seems to fade away unless he scores. He doesn’t create on his own like Green does.

  • RayJr

    So what your saying is Green is better on offense and defense.

  • RayJr

    That game was the deciding factor for me of who is the better PG. Also Paul George did not outplay Lebron that game.

  • AndyK415

    Yeah I was thinking along the lines of Jefferson (although being a terrible defender, but having a great offensive game) would be a better than average big body to help the Spurs get over the hump.

  • i_ball

    CP is the better player no doubt I don’t want to argue about it. I will take Parker over him in the MVP race for one reason – the Spurs have had a lot of injuries and are still on the top of the West. He has stepped up and deserves to be rewarded.

    And CP plays 30 seconds less, come on man. They are having the same season basically 33 minutes 9 wins added to the team by doing different things.

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