Tony Parker’s 2017 postseason is over. The San Antonio Spurs’ longtime point guard suffered a torn quad on Wednesday night, ending his quest to pick up the fifth NBA championship of his career.
It was a rough ending to what was maybe the worst year of Parker’s career. His 63 games played were the fewest he’s played in a season that did not include a lockout. His 25.2 minutes per game were the lowest of his career. By player efficiency rating, this was the second-worst season of his career. By value over replacement player, box plus/minus, and win shares, it was his worst.
This all illustrates a pretty simple and obvious fact about Parker: the dude is getting old. Parker is going to be 35 in a little less than two weeks and between the regular season and postseason, he’s played nearly 44,000 minutes in his career. For a guy who’s not a physical marvel and whose quickness was among his best attributes, it’s not exactly shocking that Parker has slowed down considerably as he’s gotten older.
Which leads to San Antonio’s issue regarding Parker, namely that the franchise needs to figure out who is going to fill in for him. In the short-term, that’s probably not too big of an issue. For the remainder of the postseason, Patty Mills is certainly capable of filling in for Parker, as he has whenever Parker has been out for the last few years. There’s also Dejounte Murray, a talented rookie guard who stands at 6’5 and has shown flashes at time this season. And of course, in the event of an emergency, Manu Ginobili – another aging star whose best days are behind him – is capable of initiating the team’s offense.
Besides, in this postseason, San Antonio’s success was always going to be defined more by Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge than Parker. Losing him for the stretch run hurts, surely, but compared to years past where losing Parker would completely ruin the Spurs, this is a manageable problem with solutions on hand.