I was conversing with J.A. Sherman (of the great OKC Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City) this weekend because of this article which I suppose was brought on because of the Thunder's recent match-up with the Lakers. Well the subject turned to what Tony Parker was like when he first joined the Spurs, and after a few moments of searching ye old databanks, I came up with the following description.
Skinny. Small. Quick as a thought. Unsure. Prone to mistakes and green as could be. Impossibly fast. Got yelled at by Pop all the time, but never got down over it. Shot floaters from every angle and distance (due to not having a reliable jumper) and he'd even unleash it just inside the free throw line. Unable to handle NBA defenses in the 4th quarter of playoff games to the point that he would regularly sit the bench while the likes of Antonio Daniels (and later Speedy Claxton) ran the offense to close games. Shaky jumper in the extreme - but could get on a hot streak. Wasn't as dangerous in pick and roll as he is now, because he''d nearly always take the ball himself. But if he turned the corner on you, it was over.
With the way that Tony's been playing this year, it's easy to look at the current model of Parker and just marvel -- and there IS plenty to be in awe of. But he really made it to the player he is now by degrees and with a ton of hard work by all involved; Pop and Chip Engelland definitely included. So what are your own favorite memories of the last ten plus seasons?