Parker Puts Teeth Back In Spurs Defense

HANG TIME, Texas — The first inclination when you hear that Tony Parker will likely be back in the starting lineup tonight is to figure the Spurs’ offense will get a boost from their sparkplug point guard. He is, after all, their leading scorer, assist man and firecracker.

But the truth is that where Parker’s presence was felt most during the three weeks he was sidelined with a sprained left ankle was on defense. While our ace stat man John Schuhmann has noted that the Spurs have refocused in specific areas to get back to a top-three defensive ranking overall, the team has suffered at that end of the floor in his absence.

Look no further than a 136-106 thumping by Portland, a 107-83 loss at Minnesota (without Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard) and even allowing lowly Cleveland to cruise into San Antonio and make things far too interesting before losing 119-113.

As Schuhmann points out, the Spurs have concentrated more this season on contesting shots and that’s an area where Parker has shined, along with cutting off opponents’ penetration into the lane.

It was another good friend, the dapper Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News, who went into Parker’s individual numbers to show how critical he is to the defense.

He found that Parker’s minus 4.0 on/off total on defense (the amount of points the Spurs give up per 100 possessions when he’s on the court compared to off) is third-best on the Spurs, trailing Tiago Splitter (minus 6.8) and Leonard (minus 4.8) but ahead of Duncan (minus 3.5).

Also, opposing players register a 13.3 PER (15.0 is average) with a 43.5 effective field-goal percentage while matched up against Parker, according to 82games.com. For comparison’s sake, Memphis guard Tony Allen, widely considered one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders, holds his opponents to a 13.6 PER on 51.6 eFG.

“Defensively, he’s been unnoticed, really, coach Gregg Popovich said while Parker was out. “But he’s done a hell of a job on that end of the floor guarding difficult players every night. His leadership has been very important to what we’ve done. I trust him the way I used to trust Avery (Johnson). Offensively, you guys have all seen it. So all three of those aspects of the game (defense, offense, leadership) have been apparent all year long.”

So while the Spurs will be happy to have Parker put some juice back into their offense tonight, it’s sinking his teeth back into the defense that will give them a real bite.

12 Comments

  1. Enzo says:

    loss to the rockets, HHMMMM…..?

    • Marco29 says:

      They lost only by 1pt which is too bad given how tough their schedule will be in the next days. Parker did what he could to give them a faire chance to win the game but they fell short.
      What is hurting them is Manu’s current production and FG%. They need him back on track on both ends of the floor.

  2. Enzo says:

    If the Spurs can win thru the next two weeks of their schedule (rockets/denver/clips/heat/grizz/okc and more) then I’m a believer, otherwise…..

  3. sanjay says:

    spurs need to worry about stopping steak of denver first! Spurs would come to finals beaten black n blue, if at all they make it! They would have to face denver/memphi/clippers, okc,lakers/houston before finals! The western conference would be a dog fight for sure! And it is tougher than ever!

  4. Willy says:

    OZZY! You didn’t watch the last OKC game? KL did a great job on Durant. One game only ya, but much better than last years series. Jack did his dirty work as well. Let WestBRICK shoot 80 times that’s a good thing!

  5. dink says:

    the spurs are gonna snap the heat win streak just watch

  6. deJavu says:

    with Parker.. Heat will be ice cold and a loss.not a hater just a realistic picture here.

  7. Basketball says:

    ESPN has a report. Did Spurs Really Miss Parker? “San Antonio also seems to better in transition without him, averaging nearly a basket more a game on fast-break opportunities than they do when Parker plays. DIFFERENCE-MAKER? SPURS THIS SEASON With Parker >Without Parker Win pct .768 .750 PPG 104.8 103.0 FG pct 48.7 49.3 Fast-break PPG 13.9 15.3 >Missed last 8 games (ankle)”

  8. Bryan says:

    looks like the spurs chance of winning it all jumped from 11.9% to 60% again. Good job spurs team, and once again they shall reign supreme over the western conference. They beat OKC by about 13 and with parker back now, i don’t see a problem with kicking OKC out of the playoffs!!! HAHAHahaHAaHAHAHAHAHaHahAHAhahAhaHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s now start thinking about how to beat the Heat……………….

    • Marc says:

      Come on now. The Heat barley beat the Spurs B team in Miami. The Spurs aren’t the same team and give the Heat many many match up problems. Leonard CAN guard Lebron or Wade if he needs to. Spurs don’t fear the Heat and neither should we.

      • ozzy says:

        fear durant buddy… leonard cant check him (too short), Durant will murder the spurs come playoff time (just like last year)
        btw watch Miami will come to the spurs with there winning streak intact

  9. Chris says:

    Looking forward to seeing how they play with Parker back in the lineup.