Ranking the Top 10 Point Guards in the NBA

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2. Tony Parker

Feb 22, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) winks after being called for a foul against the Golden State Warriors during the overtime period at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeats the San Antonio Spurs 107-101 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone thinks Tony Parker is ranked too high, you haven’t been watching the Spurs this season.  After 11 years in the league, during which he’s one three championships and one Finals MVP, it hasn’t really been until this year that he’s garnered appreciation from the basketball establishment for his incredibly high standard of play.

Watching Parker’s pick-and-roll game is like a how-to video for properly executed offensive basketball.  When he gets in the lane, his arsenal of moves make him impossible to defend.  If you could teach his floater to a group of fifth-graders, their rec team would be unstoppable.  If his man goes up for the block, he uses his positioning to pivot and go under him for an easy layup.  If the outside defenders leave their men to come help, he’ll kick it out to the open man for a patented Spurs corner-three.

As Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry pointed out last week, we’ve been watching Parker do these things for so long that we fail to respect just how hard it is to do them on a nightly basis against the best defenders the NBA has to offer.

The thing I love about Parker’s game is how he realized what his strengths were and tailored his game around them.  Go to his Wikipedia page and read the player profile.  How many other NBA players would have the self-awareness and discipline to admit to themselves that they simply aren’t good three-point shooters, and should therefore focus on developing a better mid-range game and drive to the basket more?  The result, as Goldsberry shows on his shot charts, is an incredible offensive efficiency that must give opposing coaches nightmares when they’re game planning for San Antonio.

Unfortunately, it may be a little while before we get to see Parker back on the court, but you can bet he’s going to be back in time for the playoffs to try and bring a fifth title back to the Alamo.