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.
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?
6. How many times have we seen this from Manu Ginobili? This time, it’s Parker dishing it to through the legs of Mehmet Okur. San Antonio might not always be flashy, but they probably lead the NBA in “most passes through an opponent’s legs” over the past decade.
5. As we were saying… If you need a video to showcase the Spurs’ passing, check this one out. There are at least three highlights alone on this single play, which probably couldn’t happen against any player other than Kwame Brown.
4. Honestly, give some props to Leandro Barbosa for keeping his feet. Parker has him doing some type of awful Brazilian dance. Fabulous defense from Amar’e Stoudemire by the way.
3. The half-spin might be the most underutilized move in basketball outside of the 2K franchise. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone use it live. In the video game, it feels like some sort of glitch because it’s used so often. Every other jolt of the joystick brings out a half-spin. They never look as good as this one though. Remember when Devin Harris was actually a good defender? Tony doesn’t.
2. Why does the half-spin work so well? Because of moves like this one. I’ve been on record saying Tyreke Evans has the best spin move in the game, but since Sacramento’s former Golden Child forgot how to play basketball these past two seasons, it doesn’t feel right to claim him the best at anything outside of missing ugly fadeaways. That’s especially true when you consider Parker has probably the most lethal/underrated spin in the league.
1. And again… this one was so nasty Sean Elliott had to start talking about his momma and clean underwear.
What’s your favorite move from Parker?
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