- Created on Thursday, 07 February 2013 16:30
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Jeff Noital
When you've read or heard a top list about who should be the league MVP this season, you've most likely heard Lebron James, Kevin Durant, or Carmelo Anthony. It's usually those three right now, but there's one name left off that shouldn't and possibly should be higher than those 3 and that's Tony Parker.
The San Antonio Spurs' starting point guard isn't the same player he used to be a decade ago or even 4 years ago. Once thought to be the lightning fast pick and roll player who used to feed off of what the defense gave Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, Parker is now the Spurs' offensive catalyst and the engine that makes San Antonio go. An old saying among Spurs fans for years was "the team will go as far as Ginobili can take them" now should stand for Parker.
The argument can be made in two ways for the French point guard, but let's first examine the numbers. He's averaging 20.3ppg and 7.6apg in 32.8mpg this season. He's ranked 11th in scoring in the league, which is extremely impressive for Parker, who's in his 11th season this year. If that's not impressive enough for you, then here's a statistic for Parker that you might not have thought of:
Among the top 11 players who are leading the league in scoring, Parker is doing it in less time than the other players.
The only player to come close to Parker's 32.8mpg is Dwayne Wade with 34.1mpg this season. Although he's been known as a scoring point guard his whole career, Parker is not a scrub at sharing the ball with his teammates either. Parker's 7.6apg ranks him 8th in the league under players like Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul. Parker's statistic is misleading like his average for points per game. He's at an impressive 8th, but take this into account also:
Among the top 8 players who are leading the league in assists, Parker is doing it in less time than the rest.
Steve Nash and Chris Paul come tied under Parker's minutes at 33.5mpg. If Parker's case still needs to be made for Most Valuable Player with numbers, he's the only player in the league averaging 20+ppg, 7+apg while shooting .500 or better and shooting .800 or better from the free throw line. That's not a Spurs statistic or Western Conference stat, that's for the whole league including the players usually named over him for MVP.
Parker's strong case can be made with numbers, but it can also be made from a personnel standpoint. The other players who are named over Parker, with the exception of Carmelo Anthony for most of the year, have had superstar caliber players around them. Lebron James has Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh while Kevin Durant has Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Anthony led the New York Knicks, without Amare Stoudemire, to a hot start early in the season, but they've been inconsistent since their hot streak. Parker and the Spurs have been red hot, winning 11 in a row recently and having the league's best record by 1.5 games.
Parker's personnel have been known as dominant in the past, but Manu Ginobili nor Tim Duncan are the players they used to be or close to what the other players have around them individually. Ginobili is coming off the bench and having an injury riddled season while Duncan has found the fountain of youth. While some may argue a vintage Duncan is enough to lower Parker's accomplishments under the rest, Duncan isn't exactly player like the Duncan of old. He's averaging an impressive 17.3ppg and 9.7rpg, but the impressive offensive performance can't be attributed solely to him. Most of Duncan's points have come from jump shooting or the pick and roll, which Parker helps create for him. He's no longer a 4 Down player like he used to be where he would fight for his points, he's now a guy who feeds off the rest of the team and helps them move the offense. On defense, he's been dominant with his 2.7bpg, but his defense shouldn't effect Parker's efficient offensive numbers.
The case for Tony Parker being the Most Valuable Player of the league is strong this season and, if all things are taken into account and he keeps the Spurs in the running for a title this season, he should be rewarded with this accomplishment. Parker doesn't seem to get much mainstream media attention like his counterparts in the discussion, but there's no denying that Parker is what makes the Spurs go and other teams do realize Parker's worth, especially when he's playing against them.