In an interview with GrungyGentleman.com (via Hoopsworld.com) San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker discussed some questions regarding his career with the Spurs and who he finds is the most challenging point guard to guard on the basketball court.
GG: Ok, back to hoops. Who is your favorite teammate ever?
(Parker) Picking one favorite teammate is hard. I have enjoyed playing with Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen, and Manu Ginobli.
GG: How is it playing for Coach Pop?
(Parker) I love playing for Gregg Popovich. We have the best coaching staff in the NBA.
GG: Toughest player to guard?
(Parker) The toughest players to guard are Derrick Rose and Chris Paul.
It’s easy to see why Parker not only mentioned his other members of the “Big 3” but former Spur Bruce Bowen as well. For every championship ring that Parker has, Bowen was always the forward on the team known for hitting the dangerous three from the corner and stopping some of the leagues’ best scorers at the time.
Though coach Popovich rode Parker in his younger days and even made him sit the final quarter of the 2003 clinching title game, Parker knows now that it was all part of Popovich’s teaching and it’s made him become one of the most dynamic and lethal scoring guards in the game today.
As for guarding Rose and Paul, it’s only going to get tougher in the future as Rose is still young while Parker will be hitting his 30s and his speed will eventually begin to decrease.
As our own Trevor Zickgraf wrote a few weeks ago, Chris Paul may come out with a fire anytime he plays the Spurs because of the battles he and owner Peter Holt went through during the ongoing NBA Lockout. So if Paul continuously drops a triple-double on the Spurs, Parker can thank Holt for making those matchups that much tougher.
One last angle you can look at is the level of competition Parker is playing against right now. He’s not guarding or scoring on guys with the talent of Rose or Paul. This trend could continue for an entire season. Should that happen or the league make a deal in late January, how will Parker be affected when facing elite talent. His body, his competitive level will all have shifted due to playing sub-par talent overseas.