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DaveO

Tony Parker

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Tony Parker retired from the NBA yesterday.  With that retirement there goes the last of the San Antonio Big 3:  Tim Duncan, possibly the greatest "Big Forward" ever, Manu Ginobili who I suppose is the greatest basketball player from Argentina, and Parker, a French/American, who is the last of the Big 3 to retire after 18 years in the NBA; 17 with San Antonio.

That group of 3 won more games than any other big 3, won 4 NBA championships, and established the longest running, best franchise in the NBA, from the early 2000's till today, a record with no equal.

Parker, a short quick guard from France, made the Spurs with his quickness, but needed to improve.  That improvement took place in the early 2000's and by the mid 2000's he was easily one of the best point guards in the NBA, and possibly the best at penetrating and scoring.   Here are Parker's best moves down low, where his quickness, foot control and ball control were unequaled:

 

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Next to John Stockton and Karl Malone, Tony Parker has played in the third-most consecutive playoff seasons in history (before people go looking up Tim Duncan, the Spurs missed the playoffs in Duncan's third year).

I don't see how he won't be a future Hall of Famer, even though his regular season numbers aren't gaudy.

"Parker Announces Retirement after 18 Seasons in NBA" on nba.com

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According to this thorough review of NBA playoff career leaders:  

Duncan has played in the 2nd most games all time;

Parker is 6th all time and Ginobili is 8th.  That trio simply dominated the NBA playoffs for a long time.  Parker and Ginobili (and Duncan) kept playing season after season, sometimes losing in the first round, sometimes going all the way.   (By reference: Duncan at 251, Parker at 226, Ginobili at 218 and Malone and Stockton at 193 and 182 respectively).   The San Antonio team simply remained superb for close to 20 years.  They did that in the West with superior competition.  They did it winning over 50 games a year, every full season.

All that being said, Parker evolved from a quick young guard to one of the best point guards in the league in his heyday, and possibly the best at scoring down low. 

In any case while I had enjoyed watching San Diego over a long period, the spectacular example of their play came in the 2014 championship against Miami and LeBron James.  They won 4 of 5 games and they blew out Miami in their 4 victories each by 15 or more points.  Secondly it was a prime example of how San Antonio, both kept its championship "chops" over the years but did it with a changing of the guard, as Kawhi Leonard was the Playoff MVP.  All that being said, there was a period during which Tony Parker was one of the exquisite point guards in the NBA, and one with a spectacular drive to the inside; a play that has befuddled point guards for decades.

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12 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Consecutive seasons. Parker: 17, Stockton and Malone: 19.

Yeah, yeah.   The two teams, and the critical players during their respective long successful runs had clear similarities, but other differences.  What was similar was their very long term success via very specific players which included playoff runs.   Stockton and Malone did play in 19 playoff series, mostly together. 

The team similarities during the two runs is both unusual and pretty remarkable.  One team's success began to terminate as the other team's success took off.  Put them together and from the latter 1980's to the last couple of years of the 2010's either the Jazz or Spurs were in the Playoffs with all time stars, who themselves had amazing longevity.    All around amazing relative to basketball and any team sport.

Still of the "big 3" of the Spurs, the amazing thing about Parker was his ability to score from in close.  He was a penetrating master.  The video above provides a nice sample of his best work. 

Now from the perspective of a Bullets/Wizards "fan" do you know what is amazing?   Both those teams had multiple 50 win (plus a healthy number of 60 win) regular seasons....a lot of them during those runs from the 80's to the last few years of the 2010's.  How many did the Wizards/Bullets have in that period???--> Nilch, Nada, Nuttin, ZERO.  

(Its too bad I would fall asleep in front of late night west coast BB games.  The Western stars played much better basketball)

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