Tony Parker took on a risk playing this summer for the French national team in EuroBasket, and he may face the consequences for it.
It’s clear to everybody that the San Antonio Spurs’ championship window in the Tim Duncan era is coming to a close soon. With that in mind, the Spurs are looking to preserve the roster as is and make sure everyone, including Parker, is rested and ready to go when they open their season Oct. 30.
Spurs’ general manager R.C. Buford told Parker that he wanted him to play less in order to recover in time for the season. Parker didn’t care for those precautions though, averaging nearly 30 minutes and 19 points per game for France in eleven games while taking home the championship and tournament MVP as well.
At 31 years of age, Parker isn’t is as worried as his older teammates Manu Ginobili and Duncan are about resting for the season. That may not bode well for the French all-star though, who relies on speed being a big factor in his offense.
Parker also played on a hamstring strain during the Finals against the Miami Heat, an injury that he said would’ve sidelined him at least a week if it were the regular season. Rest was clearly not what he was thinking when deciding to play for France, because now he only has one week to recover in time for training camp.
What Parker had to say after the tournament may have also grinded the gears of head coach Gregg Popovich: “It was very hard for me physically. I am very tired now. It’s been a long season, so it’s hard for me to say if I will play (in the FIBA World Cup of basketball next summer).”
One of the biggest problems for the Spurs last season was the backup point guard situation. Cory Joseph, Patty Mills nor Nando de Colo got many minutes in the postseason. Former Spur Gary Neal usually played as Parker’s backup, and now that he’s gone the Spurs will need to see improvement from one of those players mentioned above, especially if Parker will need extra rest during the regular season.
It’s good to know he’s already considering taking next summer off, and only time can tell if he should’ve considered the break one summer earlier.