The Spurs are now officially old. Okay, so their average age (26.9) is actually the lowest of the Tim Duncan era. But Danny Green, Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard are not the Spurs. Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker are. Up until today, whenever you talked about age with the Old Reliables, you could always add a “but” at the end. But Tony Parker is still young. Well, he finally hit a milestone today. Parker is now 30 years old.
And yet as Parker has proved this season, the age thing doesn’t really matter. He nearly won an MVP after leading the Spurs to a No. 1 seed in the West by averaging 18.3 points and 7.7 assists. This year turned into perhaps the best season of his career, and yet nobody noticed. They were too wrapped up in other point guard “stuff” like Derrick Rose‘s MVP defense, Kevin Durant versus Russell Westbrook, and Ricky Rubio‘s actual existence as a great basketball player.
Even during the process of putting together this list, it was ironic to find only a handful of Parker plays on YouTube. You’d think a four-time All-Star who’s been in the NBA since 2001 would be all over YouTube. But no, the Spurs still get no respect. As a birthday present, we’re giving you the 10 best moves of Parker’s career. Or at least, the ones I could find.
10. What I’ll remember most about Tony Parker won’t be the accent or the weird obsession every woman in the world had with him just because he’s from France. I will remember that blinding crossover that’s always balancing the line between a nice move and a carry. On this play, it wasn’t so much skill as speed that left Steve Blake‘s feet stuck to the floor.
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9. For years, Parker was known as the best scoring little man in the paint. He always seemed to finish. Now that Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose have rewritten the laws of gravity for the game’s best point guards, it’s easy to forget that Parker’s ability to create something out of nothing at the rim is almost unparalleled for a short guard.
8. Deron Williams has the best crossover in the NBA, but Parker isn’t far behind. In fact, Williams is just a little better than Parker at everything outside of hair maintenance. It helps to be awesome, except when you’re alone on an island defending perhaps the fastest player in the world and he hits you with a nice chance of direction.
7. Before we start proclaiming Kyrie Irving as a top five point guard, remember Parker has been doing this for a decade. Imagine the scoring numbers he could’ve put up had he been drafted into a situation like Cleveland? Or better yet, imagine how fast he would’ve left had he been drafted into a situation like Cleveland?