Tony Parker’s never slowing down. I gave up waiting. They’ll be making Fast & Furious 26 before the 6’2″ point guard stops cutting through defenses, leaving skid marks on San Antonio’s home floor.
Long considered a dangerous “in the paint” player, the 32-year-old Parker, like most of the Spurs, is still underrated. We talk about Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul, yet TP is still in the athletic conversation with them. His elusiveness, and his quick flip shots at the tin make him impossible to defend with a larger player. Never a huge playmaker simply because San Antonio’s system asks for ball movement rather than big numbers, Parker still shot at least 48% from the floor every season since 2004.
Parker struggled with an ankle injury during the Western Conference Finals but is obviously still an impact player in the Finals with his speed and quickness. Here’s a closer look at the point guard’s elusiveness.
We all know Parker for his patented tear drop shot. But he’d never have the space to create if it wasn’t for all of his ball fakes and pivots. No guard in the NBA has better footwork in the lane. Remember when he made a game-winner over LeBron in the Finals last year? Yep, all footwork. His ball fakes are even more damaging. How do you defend someone going as fast as Parker, even when he has the potential to fake you out like this? You can’t.
The nastiest spin this side of the Tasmanian Devil, Parker often unleashes this move in traffic. His timing is perfect, too. Parker has a sixth sense telling him when a defender is trailing on his hip. Because of his speed, this happens quite often. When Parker busts out the spin move, it sends overextending opponents out of the picture.
Pick and Roll
For more than a decade, Parker and Tim Duncan have terrorized the NBA with a lethal high pick-and-roll. Both players aren’t as versatile as other stars—Parker doesn’t shoot three-pointers and Duncan doesn’t like catching the ball farther than 15 feet from the rim—but they make up for it with surgical precision. They know exactly when to set it, and they know exactly where they’ll be.
With a screen, Parker’s quickness is impossible to curtail, and it doesn’t even matter if a defender goes under the screen—Parker’s still getting to the lane.
Parker’s crossover is never flashy. It’s successful. He keeps it low and tight, and often gets a defender backpedaling with an initial in-n-out dribble. When Parker comes full speed at you, stopping on a dime and changing direction, there’s nothing anyone can do. He’s like a tiny tornado, and you never know which way it’ll be leaning next.