Found November 09, 2012 on Project Spurs:
Talking about end of the season awards candidates after a week or two into the season can get pretty ridiculous, but you can't blame NBA bloggers and media members for being excited early on this season. Regardless of whether or not certain players will be playing as well toward the end of the season, or sustain throughout, there's no doubting some players have had an excellent start. For the San Antonio Spurs, although he's struggled through his last two games, Tony Parker has definitely put himself in that contention. In fact, Chris Sheridan recently listed Parker fifth in his MVP rankings one spot after another Spur Tim Duncan. Since we are using FT percentage to differentiate between the top two Spurs, we must bring up Parker’s 71 percent mark through three games. Yet we also must point out his assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.5 is only half as good as those of Jason Kidd and Chuck Hayes (9.0). Yes, Chuck Hayes. (Sorry, Tony. Needed to needle you. Nice buzzer-beater vs. OKC). While Duncan has seemingly turned back the clock so far this season, there’s no doubting there was a changing of the guard with the Spurs last season. A team led by Tim Duncan for over a decade turned the keys over to point guard Tony Parker as the floor general became more of a leader and put the team on his back several times throughout the season. Several times last season, Parker was mentioned as an MVP candidate and when told of the news, Parker took a classic Spurs approach and laughed it off. “It’s like every time somebody asks me that question I have to laugh because that’s LeBron and Durant stuff,” Parker said then. “But I’ll try to do my best to keep running my team.” Parker ended up fifth in MVP votes last season, likely to open up more than a few eyes, except for the ones across from his all last season. It wasn’t just your usual slew of sports network personalities, reporters and even bloggers calling Parker a legitimate candidate, it was also his peers. As I made my way through several visiting locker rooms at Spurs home games last season, I made sure to ask former Spurs players and opposing guards their thoughts on Parker’s performance throughout the season. “He’s been playing at a great level all year. He is really taking that offense over and he is picking his spots well,” Magic guard J.J. Reddick said. “He knows when to be aggressive, when to score and when to be a playmaker. Tony is as good as any point guard in the league right now.” Reddick’s Magic teammate Jameer Nelson agreed saying Parker is what made the Spurs go last season. “He does a great job of running his team. He makes that team go and it showed tonight. He is always in attack mode,” Nelson said. Former Spurs Steve Novak of the Knicks and George Hill of the Pacers also commented on Parker’s standout year last season, a season in which he became the Spurs’ all-time assist leader. “He’s playing his butt of and we saw tonight how well he’s playing. He puts so much pressure on the defense. This is the young Tony Parker that we know,” Novak said. “Tony is having an unbelievable year, playing like an MVP like he always is,” Hill added. Goran Dragic called Parker “great” and told me he was very tough to guard. Kemba Walker said as a young guard in the league, he had watched Parker for a long time and always looks forward to his matchups with him. Parker’s Spurs teammates and coach Gregg Popovich called Parker unbelievable, focused, aggressive and steady and you’d likely have a hard time telling Spurs fans he’s been anything short of that early on this season. While 78 games remain in the regular season, those three letters, MVP, have popped up in the Spurs locker room again, and it hasn’t been in reference to the Jersey Shore cast. “Tony (Parker) had an MVP season last year and he’s starting off the season the same way. If he plays like that it is going to be hard for us to lose,” Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said after a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last week. “We have so many players that can knock down shots and with our point guard, the leader of our team, playing like that it’s special.” On consecutive nights in his first two games, Parker hit game-saving clutch three-pointers, and in the Thunder win, he closed the show after he lost Russell Westbrook and buried a jumper over Serge Ibaka’s outstretched arm. In his first three games, Parker was averaging 20.3 points, nine assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Parker struggled a bit offensively in his last game on Monday against the Pacers, but he also played considerably less minutes in a huge win for the Spurs second unit. Parker still managed seven assists and four rebounds in just 26 minutes. That gives him an average of eight assists per game, good enough for eight in the league in assists. Before his last two games, in which Parker had a dip in playing time, Parker was near the top in the league in assist per turnover ratio. While it’s premature to call anyone a MVP favorite this early in the season, it certainly wouldn't be new to Parker to start hearing the MVP chants in April and May again.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Video: Splitter goes coast-to-coast for the dunk

And just when you thought you had seen it all in terms of San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter's offense, he decided to join in on the dunk fest the Clippers were having last night. Splitter took the ball coast to coast before using a nice ball fake to create some space so he could finish the dunk. While normally the idea of Splitter bringing the ball up the court...

Spurs 112, Trail Blazers 109

Gary Neal had 27 points, Manu Ginobili hit two big free throws in the final seconds and the San Antonio Spurs edged the Portland Trail Blazers 112-109 on Saturday night. The Blazers hit four straight 3-pointers to tie it at 109 with 40.5 seconds left, but Portland stumbled from there and was saddled with its third consecutive loss. Nicolas Batum had a career-high 33 points. Tim...

POTD 11/9/12: DeMarcus Cousins on Danny Green

Danny Green makes a lot of money.  According to ESPN, the Spurs will pay their starting shooting guard $3.5 million this season, mostly to make three-point baskets.  A pretty sweet gig indeed, but that doesn’t mean it comes completely free of drawbacks.  For example, in Friday’s game against the Kings, Green found himself the last line of defense between a charging DeMarcus...

5 things to watch: Spurs vs. Blazers

The San Antonio Spurs (5-1) will face the Portland Trail Blazers (2-3) tonight in Portland as the Spurs' West coast road trip continues. Last night, the Spurs beat the Kings 97-86 and were led by Tim Duncan with 23 points, and 12 rebounds while Patty Mills chipped in with 18 points off the bench. However, the Spurs did turn the ball over 20 times during the contest.  Portland...

Spurs' Duncan leaves Kings feeling ill

By Martin McNeal, The Sports Xchange SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- San Antonio's Tim Duncan wasn't feeling well. So he took it out on the Sacramento Kings during a 97-86 victory at the Sleep Train Arena Friday night. Duncan cautioned reporters after the game because he's been suffering from flu-like symptoms. Duncan's game-high 23 points were one of the few offensive...

Duncan powers Spurs past Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Tim Duncan had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 97-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. The Spurs played without Stephen Jackson, who was out with the flu, and Duncan and several other players were a bit under the weather. But they led for much of the game in defeating the Kings for the ninth straight...

San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers prediction and preview

Another big test The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off their first home loss of the year against the Los Angeles Clippers, but a win against the San Antonio Spurs would help the team get back on track, and back to .500. Matchup: Portland (2-3) vs. San Antonio Spurs (5-1) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 10:00 PM PT Date: Nov. 10, 2012 The Blazers have been tested by quality opponents...

Spurs finally find way to win Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The San Antonio Spurs ended a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. The Spurs trailed the Blazers through the first three quarters then pulled ahead in the fourth quarter only to see the Blazers come back. San Antonio finally pulled out the 112-109 win, before an announced sellout crowd of 20,447. ...

San Antonio 112, Portland 109

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The San Antonio Spurs ended a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 112-109 on Saturday night. After going into the fourth quarter down 79-73, the Spurs opened the final period with a 14-0 run. The Spurs held onto the lead until 40 seconds remained in the game, when Blazers forward Nicolas Batum sank a 3-pointer to make...

5 things to watch: Spurs vs. Kings

After losing their first game in the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs (4-1) will look to bounce back on the winning track as they visit the Sacramento Kings (2-3). The Spurs are coming off a 106-84 loss to the Clippers mostly due to 20 turnovers and allowing the Clippers to shoot 55% for the game.  As for the Kings, they are coming off a narrow 105-103 win over Detroit...

3 Toros In D-League's Prospect Watch

The reigning D-League champion Austin Toros are in great position to defend their title as training camps open this month.  That also means members of the Toros' roster are in good position to help the Spurs should an injury occur mid-season. According to NBA.com, three Toros players, including last year's MVP Justin Dentmon, are rated in the D-League's top 30 prospect...

Spurs-Kings Preview

Coming off their first loss of the season, the San Antonio Spurs look to get back to winning against a team they've dominated in recent years. The Sacramento Kings have won both of their home games, but they'll have a tall task trying to make it three in a row Friday night against a Spurs team that has won eight straight at Sleep Train Arena. San Antonio (4-1) has had its...

Spurs 97, Kings 86

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- San Antonio power forward Tim Duncan scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Spurs to a 97-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings before an announced crowd of 13,505 at Sleep Train Arena on Friday night. Duncan, 36, was a force around the basket in the second half but received a particularly strong contribution off the bench from Patty Mills. He scored 18 points...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.