The San Antonio Spurs must make a decision, and they must make it by the start of the 2016-17 season. With Tim Duncan gone, the original Big 3 is now down to two, but even those two are on the decline. Manu Ginobili thought hard about retiring, then was on the ropes when deciding between the Spurs and the Philadelphia 76ers. Yes, those 76ers, he was ready to move on from it all for a team that’s in rebuild mode. Is there something going on in San Antonio we know nothing about?
The other piece to their puzzle is starting PG, Tony Parker. What does he mean to this team? We know and understand his past, but moving forward, does he have a spot? Last season Parker averaged 12 points (lowest since his rookie year) and each season we have watched as his assists have declined, along with his minutes played. What should the Spurs do with the brains of their glory years?
Is it time to make him a reserve and hand the ball to Patty Mills who has been patiently waiting or do you give Parker one more season with the new nucleus? Parker was never one to be mentioned as one of the best passers in the NBA but with a frontcourt that will consist of Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and now, Pau Gasol it would only seem fitting to have them led by a savvy veteran.
Mills can get the job done, forcing Pop in a tight spot as far as minutes are concerned. The Spurs don’t care about the win/losses, as long as they make it to the playoffs. Parker played an average of 28 minutes and Mills, 21. Their shot attempts were not that far off with Parker taking 10 and Mills eight, but with Mills looking to score more for the second unit, that’s understandable.
The Spurs offense will still run thru the post and rightfully so with the talent they have assembled but where does that leave the PG position? Parker is 33 years old and cannot keep up with the quicker guards like Curry, Westbrook or Lillard, and while he will still hit that dagger shot, he’s not what he use to be as far as production goes.
Popovich is a loyal guy, but there comes the point where he must do the same for Parker that he did for Duncan. Let him start a few games then give it to Mills and see what Mills can do leading the team. It’s clear the Spurs are heading in another direction but remember when a young, speedy guard from France came into the league and gave the Spurs frontline a shot of much-needed adrenaline?
Parker was that guy then, now let’s see if Mills can be him now.