With the 2013 NBA Finals set to tip-off, the emergence of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker may have put him in élite company.
ESPN NBA analyst, Jalen Rose tweeted that Parker was the third best player in the NBA behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
While the 31-year-old native of Paris has three NBA titles, five All-Star appearances and one NBA Finals MVP to his name, Parker is perhaps the most underrated point guard of his generation.
While other point guards such as Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving and Rajon Rondo garner more attention, Parker’s trademark fast pace and deadly shooting have clearly placed him a cut above others.
During the 2012-13 regular season, Parker averaged 20.1 points, 6.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and shot 52.2 percent from the field in helping lead the Spurs to the second-best record in the league.
It would be in the this post-season that Le Parker would really stake his claim. During the 2013 playoffs, Parker would average 23.0 points, 7.2 assists and 3.9 assists in helping lead the Spurs to their fifth NBA Finals appearance.
His 23.0 points per game average were third among all points guards—and seventh overall—trailing only Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry. While these numbers are all very impressive, does that call for Rose’s statement of being Parker being the third best player in the NBA?
One could make the argument of Parker being in the top ten–perhaps even top five–but third?
Based on that logic, Parker is better than Paul, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki.
Once again, while the argument could in theory be made, it’s hard to put Parker above Paul, let alone Kobe. While it is also hard and unfair to compare players from different positions, perhaps Rose meant in terms of what Parker means to the Spurs this year.
In that case, then a case could be made, but based on the MVP-like performances of Paul, Bryant and Anthony, may prove difficult to argue.
Perhaps it is because he plays in a small market or on a so-called dull and unspectacular team as the Spurs and not the glitzy big market teams like the Knicks, Clippers or ever Heat, but would Parker get the same time of attention of his peers if he played elsewhere?
If I’m a Spurs fan, I would be just glad that he plays for my team instead of another.
But third best?
While Parker is both underrated and very good, putting him on a level above Kobe, Dwyane Wade and Westbrook?
Not so fast, Jalen.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] follow me on Twitter @RC_TheInscriber and follow The Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber