It begin with a “Jason Kidd will destroy him”, then turned into “oh my, this French kid is actually quite good”.
Those were the words we spoke when we first saw Tony Parker go head to head with Kidd in the 2003 NBA Finals. Kidd, at the time, was set to become a free agent and the San Antonio Spurs were tops on his list but his wife at the time wanted to focus on her TV career, which forced Kidd to stay in Jersey.
What could’ve been?
But who got the better end of that decision? Kidd or Parker?[embedit snippet=”2″]
In all honesty, neither. At the time, Kidd was an All-Star but his game wasn’t nearly as refined as it would become. Parker was in his 2nd season, fast, relentless and fearless. Exact opposites, but the same in some ways.
Kidd was not known as a perimeter threat in his early years and Parker struggled from that area as well. But, the question will always be asked. What if Kidd said yes?
Would he and Tim Duncan have won more rings than the combination of Parker and Duncan?
I love Parker’s game. He’s one hell of a ball player but, let’s be honest here, he’s not Hall of Fame worthy. There’s no denying the impact Parker had on the Spurs as a franchise and for the career of Duncan but Kidd would have put them in the conversation as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics as far as Dynasty talk goes. The Spurs carved out their own history but, Kidd would have given them something special. Parker was young and unknown, Kidd was the best PG at the time and would have drawn free agents. Top flight players like Vince Carter could have come and turned the Spurs into something entirely different. But how can you argue with the four championships the Parker and Duncan won together?
That’s the beauty of this missed opportunity. We never know if the past would have turned out differently. Could Spurs fans imagine a backcourt with Parker and Kidd?