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Old 11-25-10, 09:02 PM
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Insider: Tony Parker a sleeper MVP candidate

Tony Parker a sleeper MVP candidate
The Spurs have transformed their franchise by running things through their point guard

By Tom Haberstroh

You know that contract hangover theory? It doesn't apply to Tony Parker.

At the end of October, the San Antonio Spurs re-upped with their star point guard for a four-year, $50 million extension that should keep him in a Spurs uniform through 2014-15. Three weeks later, the Spurs boast the league's best record of 12-1 -- and Parker, who is currently sporting the league's ninth-highest player efficiency rating, is a huge reason why.

In the midst of a 10-game winning streak, the Spurs have stormed out of the gate in multiple ways. Just two seasons ago, the Spurs were the fourth-slowest team in the NBA, averaging 90.4 possessions per game. This year? They have cranked out an extra 7.4 possessions per game with predominantly the same core. Don't look now, but the Spurs are actually outpacing the Phoenix Suns in the speed game, ranking seventh in possessions per game with 97.8 to the Suns' 97.3.

So what changed? The Spurs are unleashing the blow-by speed of Parker outside of the half court.

People tend to forget that Parker is only 28 years old. It's easy to lump him in the same age bracket as Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, since they've played together for so long. But Ginobili and Duncan have five years on Parker, which makes an enormous difference in this league. So instead of catering to their mid-30s stars, the Spurs embraced the fact that they possess one of the league's fastest point guards in his prime, who also happens to represent the future of the franchise.

By putting Parker in the driver's seat, the Spurs have seen their transition game make up 13.3 percent of the team's offense, according to Synergy data, up dramatically from their 9.4 percent rate last season. Teams find it hard enough to stay in front of Parker in the half court, but the Spurs are leveraging the three-time All-Star's speed and quickness in traffic where there's no safety net in the form of defensive rotations. Flying in transition, Parker doesn't have to circumvent two or three defenders on his way to the rack anymore.

You'll notice this season that the Spurs have been pushing the ball off defensive rebounds, but more importantly, they're also getting turnovers, which trigger the run-and-gun style of play. Causing turnovers was a sore spot for the Spurs last season, as they ranked third to last in opponent turnover percentage. This season, the Spurs have jumped 15 spots in the rankings on their way to a 14.3 percent opponent turnover rate.

Once again, Parker is leading the way. Parker was vocal this offseason about his newfound dedication to the defensive side of the ball, but those proclamations usually end up being contract propaganda. In Parker's case, though, it was more than just talk. The 6-foot-2 point guard has been far more active in passing lanes this season. Whether it's intercepting entry passes to bigger point guards trying to body him up -- which happened more than once against Deron Williams on Friday night -- or picking off a lazy swing pass, we're seeing an offseason promise actually come to fruition on the court. With 26 steals this season, the normally undisruptive point guard is just three steals away from eclipsing his 2009-10 total after just 13 games, while ranking ninth in the NBA with 2.0 steals per game.

Parker utilizes a lightning-quick first step to destroy his man off the dribble, but it never seemed to translate on the defensive end. Similar accelerators like Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo perennially rank atop the steals leaderboard, but Parker was the rare case in which a devastating first step vanished on the other side of the ball. Not anymore.

As is always the case with Parker, however, we have to complement our compliments with a caution: He can't seem to stay healthy for a full season. Over the previous three seasons, he has missed about 16 games per season and perennially battles a fragile left ankle. But he seems to be fully healthy after suffering a broken right hand in March and has shown zero signs of slowing down at age 28.

While Ginobili is in the midst of another spectacular season, the Spurs have redefined themselves through Parker's play on both ends of the floor. These aren't the same ol' Spurs, and if MVP voters are looking for the most valuable and transformative player on the league's best team -- which is often the case -- then it's time we recognize Parker as a legitimate MVP candidate in the early going.
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With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
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Old 11-25-10, 11:03 PM
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I will say....Parker has been great defensively. He played defense like this his rookie season, but has steadily declined since. Credit to Pop for finally letting go of the 4 down years. Not that that was bad, rather this team is not built for that. Not to mention the rules are much more favorable for this style.
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Is our defense that good? I think so. And the scary part is that the whole team seems to take a sadistic pride in shutting people down. What is Pop feeding them? They looked brainwashed out there, a single minded machine that just eats up their opponents. -----pjrfan
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Old 11-25-10, 11:31 PM
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didn't you hear? it was decided in September that Durant was this years MVP
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Old 11-26-10, 12:19 AM
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Get a grip. This article is rediculous. It's November. No team has even played against all the other teams once let alone twice.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:39 AM
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You can't have MVP candidates after only 14 games. MVP candidates emerge at about the midway point of the season.
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Old 11-26-10, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATHENEA View Post
Tony Parker a sleeper MVP candidate
I thought this was going to be quotes from Erin Barry...
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Old 11-26-10, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maldoror View Post
You can't have MVP candidates after only 14 games. MVP candidates emerge at about the midway point of the season.
Thanks for clearing up the rules for us...
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Old 11-26-10, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttsR4rebounding View Post
I thought this was going to be quotes from Erin Barry...
lol. nice.
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Old 11-26-10, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttsR4rebounding View Post
Thanks for clearing up the rules for us...
See above:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurd_On View Post
Get a grip. This article is rediculous. It's November. No team has even played against all the other teams once let alone twice.
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  #10  
Old 11-26-10, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maldoror View Post
You can't have MVP candidates after only 14 games. MVP candidates emerge at about the midway point of the season.
Lehype had it before the season even started the past 2 years. If he wouldnt have gone to the heat i think he would have had it again this year. People are finally seeing how much of a me first player he is and that he isnt that good.
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Old 11-26-10, 02:28 PM
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He has an outside shot of being the actual MVP, but not at being named MVP.
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Old 11-26-10, 02:31 PM
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i don't think TP is the MVP of this team, i'd say Co-MVP with Manu. Ginobili would have the edge in my view because of his overall game and how he's upped his game, especially in scoring
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Old 11-26-10, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius View Post
i don't think TP is the MVP of this team, i'd say Co-MVP with Manu. Ginobili would have the edge in my view because of his overall game and how he's upped his game, especially in scoring
I definitely consider Manu the alpha dog and the #1 closer for this team. In '08 and now again in '10-'11, TP is playing the role TD traditionally played of being the guy whose reliable offense keeps them going through quarters 1-3 so Manu can finish it off at the end of the 4th.
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Old 11-28-10, 04:36 PM
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We'll see how long Manu can keep this level of play going, but right now there isn't a debate who our early season MVP is.

Manu has been ridiculous. Last year he kinda cooled off at the end of the season (after he got his contract) but he had a ridiculous stretch running up to that. No one can beat us when Manu gets hot.
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Old 11-28-10, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius View Post
i don't think TP is the MVP of this team, i'd say Co-MVP with Manu. Ginobili would have the edge in my view because of his overall game and how he's upped his game, especially in scoring
To me it's the two headed horse/snake/some other super scary animal. They interchange their distributor roles which makes their best court arguably the best in the league.
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