Friday, October 19th, 2012 at 3:00 pm  |  26 responses

Top 50: Tony Parker, no. 15

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players for ’12-13.

by Brendan Bowers / @BowersCLE

Maybe it’s because we called him Tim Duncan’s point guard as he entered the NBA universe. That kid from France we would see Gregg Popovich screaming at until his face exploded.

Maybe it’s because he once married a television star more famous than he was. Or that some people viewed him as the complimentary piece of a Championship-winning trio in San Antonio.

Whatever the reason, the truth was always the same.

More than any other NBA star from his era, Tony Parker’s been assembling a Hall of Fame career in the shadows.

Before there was Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Kyrie Irving changing the game from the point guard position, Tony Parker was in the paint doing work.

His NBA Finals MVP performance in 2007 is routinely remembered as Tim Duncan’s fourth title. Truth is, Parker was the most unstoppable force on the floor that postseason.

He didn’t need Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili or anyone else to sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers that year. He could’ve done it himself. I was there watching, and it was a clinic.

Last year, Tony Parker came in at No. 35 on the SLAMonline Top 50. On the strength of leading his team to the Western Conference Finals, he moves up 20 spots on this year’s list to No. 15 overall.

It’s a testament to the fact SLAMonline recognizes Parker’s ultimate value on the basketball court. Even after 11 years in the Association.

Tony Parker averaged a career high in assists at 7.7 during the ‘11-12 regular season. He chased that with 18.3 points per game. A number he then improved during the Playoffs to just over 20.

Parker was his team’s best offensive weapon last season, helping to lead a Spurs attack that averaged 110.9 points on 100 possessions. Which all started with his ability to get into the paint and create for teammates.

He helped Kawhi Leonard make major strides. He found Gary Neal and Danny Green wide open along the perimeter. In the process, the Spurs continued to win at a major clip.

And guys like Danny Green got paid because of all that.

At 30 years old, entering his 12th season in the League, expect Parker to pick-up right where he left off last season. While not necessarily known for his defensive ability, Parker is on pace to set a new career mark for steals as a Spur this season. On his career, he continues to average at least 1 steal per game.

He is the biggest reason why the Spurs stand a chance to threaten the NBA’s three premier powers: the Lakers, Heat and Thunder. Albeit not a great chance, but still a chance nonetheless.

In a potential match-up with Los Angeles and Miami, Parker is without question the best point guard on the court. The overall edge would still go to Russell Westbrook in an OKC showdown, but Parker will make him earn everything he gets on both ends.

Unlike other point guards, maybe Tony Parker just had to wait his turn for the spotlight he always deserved. Maybe now that Tim Duncan’s slowing down, we’re able to see the pace that Parker’s been playing at all these years a bit more clearly.

But then again, anybody who’s been paying attention has always known what Parker can do.

He’s a top-15 player right now and deserves all the recognition he has coming to him. Maybe even more.

Where should Tony Parker rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5
33 Eric Gordon Hornets SG 7
32 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 9
31 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 6
30 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 8
29 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 4
28 DeMarcus Cousins Kings C 3
27 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 5
26 Andre Iguodala Nuggets SG 5
25 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 4
24 Josh Smith Hawks PF 7
23 Derrick Rose Bulls PG 8
22 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
21 Steve Nash Lakers PG 7
20 James Harden Thunder SG 3
19 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 6
18 Chris Bosh Heat PF 5
17 Kyrie Irving Cavs PG 6
16 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 4
15 Tony Parker Spurs PG 5

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • LakeShow

    I’ve never liked Tony Parker…
    With that said, he’s a baller and deserving of this position.

  • RKJ92

    To be honest, I dont really like him at 15.. maybe at 19.. because I would have taken the last 3 players, Bosh, Irving, and LA over Parker :S

  • danpowers

    parker has always been way better than any ranking he has been put in. in most systems he wouldve averaged double digit assist averages, but the spurs have always been playing intelligent well balanced team basketball. so you wouldnt have had anyone put up blown up stats. not even duncan at his best. im absolutely ok with that rank and wouldnt have said anything against it if he was even higher.

  • danpowers

    it can be argued if bosh’ss or la’s value are above parker’s but irving? come on! have you ever seen parker play during the last decade?

  • shutup

    Nice write up. One of the most underrated pg’s ever. People sleep on him, even though he is arguably the most decorated pg in the game today.

  • LakeShow

    Co-Sign, and i’m a Irving guy and don’t like Parker.

  • whooo!

    i still prefer Parker over Westbrook in a playoff series. he even outplayed dude last during their WCF: 21 & 6 on 48% shooting; versus Westbrook’s 18 & 7 on 38% shooting. CP3, Rose, and Rondo the only pg’s who would outplay Parker in a playoff series.

  • TR

    The year TP put up 22 a game I thought him and CP3 were the best in the league, then George Hill came along and Pop seemed to get a little on the fence with Tony. Now that Hill is gone and he’s the only one of the core 3 that can stay healthy we get to see how valuable he really is. None of the PGs left on this list besides Westbrook (who is kind of a PG i guess) and maybe Kyrie are gonna get 3 rings. With that said, between TP and the remaining 4 it is an incredibly gifted group.

  • RKJ92

    Ive watched basketball my whole life, and my comment was not meant to knock Parker in the least bit as I highly respect him as a player but if were talking about who will be better next year Irvings only going to get better and better, and though questionable on the defensive end he has all the tools you’d want in a pg to be elite (hence the defense will come), and I truly believe he will either break out from an already steller rookie season this year or next year. That is why I would choose Irving respectively.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL – “He didn’t need Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili or anyone else to sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers that year. He could’ve done it himself” *dead*

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Irving is not becoming even a good defensive player anytime soon.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Lakeshow, Kobe Bryant (Tony Parker) or Manu Ginobili (Kyrie Irving)
    – One is more efficient
    – One scores more points, plays more minutes, and seems to effect winning more, despite being less efficient (Except Parker is also more efficient than Irving in everything outside of scoring).

  • jnasty

    can you believe how much the game has change. sooooo many of the worlds best point guards dont have a three pointer. guys like parker, westbrook, rubio, rondo, wall, andre miller its crazy. use to scrutinize them for not being able to shoot, and now they’re among the nba’s best

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the NBA is reverting back to the 70s in terms of PG play. It’s changing, but in a “changing back” type of way.

  • Jay

    ’07 was Phoenix’s title… they would’ve swept the Cavs too.

  • Reece215

    The fact that I don’t see Melo on this list is very disrespectful to Tony Parker. He should definitely be hire than him.

  • Mr. Wet

    Parker was the guy putting together an mvp type season last year that few people talked about. I’ve always liked to watch him play.

  • danpowers

    we will see. i have just the same concern as nbk. so far irving was too much of a defensive liability for his team. not nash-weak. i mean really weak on d.

  • Caboose

    Good ranking. I have no problem putting him higher though, given that those likely ahead of him are: Dirk, Melo, and Griffin. I’d take Tony before any of those guys for next season.

  • Hursty

    Irving is possibly the worst starting pick & roll PG in the League. Not even joking. It happened last year and it’s happening again this pre-season.

  • Hursty

    I’m talking defensively here (obviously).

  • Brendan Bowers

    thanks on the write up, appreciate that buddy

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Good ranking!

  • Guitoz

    TP was ranked 5th in the MVP election last season. He is the main reason why the Spurs remain one of the 5 teams that pretend to win the title this year. He could legitimately be ranked higher than 15th.

  • Max

    And Dwill?

  • Bobby the boob

    This guy needs more attention.