Gregg Popovich Says Tony Parker is the NBA’s Best Point Guard This Season

by January 30, 2013

With apologies to Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and all the other great point guards in the NBA today (sorry, Mario Chalmers, but you don’t count), San Antonio Spurs head coach places Tony Parker atop the list. According to Pop, no one has had a better season at that position so far than Parker. Per the Express-News: “I think he’s played probably better than any point guard in the league if you want to be totally frank about the whole deal,’ Popovich said. ‘It’s hard to pick somebody who’s had a better year than he’s had at that position, leading his team to this point in the season.’ Chris Paul — and scores of others — would certainly dispute that opinion. Recently voted to start in his sixth All-Star Game, he’s averaging 16.6 points, 9.7 assists and a league-high 2.6 steals with his typical efficiency as the Clippers are on pace to crush the franchise record for victories in a season. Parker (20.1 ppg, 7.5 apg, 0.9 spg) isn’t the consummate floor general Paul is. But as he’s shown over the past two months, during which he’s shooting nearly 56 percent while scoring in double-figures in 39 straight games, Parker has reached a level of polish and control that almost no other point guard in the Association can match. […] ‘He’s been a fourth-quarter guy for a while,’ Popovich said. ‘He’s just really matured to the point he takes things personally if we’re not playing well. For a couple of those games, for three quarters it was a little lethargic. Then the fourth quarter came and Tony picked up everybody’s game — the defense picked up, he obviously did at the offensive end what he did. He’s been real special in that regard.’ Even so, there was some minor grumbling in various circles, particularly from TNT analyst Charles Barkley, that Golden State guard Stephen Curry was not selected (for the NBA All-Star Game), presumably at Parker’s expense. While praising Curry, Popovich said there is ‘no question’ Parker should have been picked. ‘In the West, especially, it’s tough because there are a lot of good teams and a lot of good players,’ he said. ‘I thought Timmy should have been on the team last year. There are other years I thought Manu or Tony should have made it. That happens to ‘x’ amount of guys every year. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the process.'”