The French international’s MVP charge has taken a hit after suffering an ankle injury.
Tony Parker is extremely important to San Antonio and it will be interesting to see how they cope with out the 5-time NBA All-Star over the next four weeks.
The 30 year-old is now in his 12th season with the Spurs but is showing no signs of declining after following up being awarded the January Player of the Month with a string of impressive performances in February . Parker averaged 26.1 points per game during the month to boost his season average to 21ppg, his best since the 2008-09 season where he finished with 22.0.
Parker doesn’t just score but he can pick a pass as well as well as anybody in the league such is the consummate ease of controlling the ball. This is evident statistically with 10+ assists in a game on FIFTEEN occasions this season to average 7.6 dimes a game (6th best in the league). The 6’2″ guard is also the all-time leader in assists for the Spurs with over 5, 000 to his name and Parker demonstrated his awareness to set up Kawhi Leonard’s game-winner against Cleveland last month.
Parker has not come close to his 55 point haul against Minnesota in 2008 but has passed 30+ points on TEN occasions so far this season. A 2012-13 best of 33 came against Indiana in November while arguably his best performance came a month later when he posted 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for a memorable triple-double on the road in Houston.
In his first season- back in 2001/02– Parker made a bright start to his NBA career and ended the campaign averaging 9.2 ppg having been a regular starter. He became a consistent scorer and his average has stayed above 14 ever since. One blemish on the C.V of Parker was his 3-PT and free throw shooting which Coach Gregg Popovich highlighted. Improvements were made which makes Parker one of the greats as his number of attempts from long range reduced dramatically and his current FT % of 82.9 is a career-high.
San Antonio haven’t reached the NBA Finals since their last Championship victory in 2007 when Parker outshone LeBron James to claim the Finals MVP in a 4-0 cruise. The Frenchman has three NBA rings and will be desperate to add to that tally. The Spurs have the best record (46-14) in the NBA to date and will hope to maintain that in the absence of Parker over the next month before he returns from a Grade-2 left ankle sprain to lead their play-offs venture.
You can follow Tony Parker on Twitter: (@tonyparker)