Waking up in the morning and reading that San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker has verbally closed the window on the Spurs' championship hopes will send you through a range of emotions from betrayal to personal angst.
After your initial emotional impulse subsides, you begin to analyze the content of what he said. Is he the Spurs most trade-able asset? Yes. Is the Spurs' championship window firmly closed shut? That's not clear.
Moving forward, the Spurs have some decisions to make. Do they trade Parker who, in my opinion, doesn't appear all to happy playing the tail end of his prime in San Antonio? Will they be a better team with George Hill taking the reigns at point guard?
This has been the topic of the last two off-seasons and I believe the Spurs interviewing prospective lottery big men the last two years signals they may have been contemplating dealing him.
One objective reality in this process is that numbers don't lie. How efficient are Tony and George on the court separately with the offense? Which point guard make teammates better all around?
Well, we can look over some advanced metrics to figure this out.
I broke this down by first looking at the bench play as a whole and who worked better with a patchwork lineup of starters and non starters. Hill, Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and Antonio McDyess were the most offensively efficient bench lineup in the league - a bench lineup is defined by a minimum of three non-starters playing together - ahead of Chicago's Rose, Brewer, Deng, Gibson and Asik.
They had the highest offensive efficiency in the league at 129.2. A bench lineup with Parker, didn't crack the top five. This is for multiple reasons.
Popovich likes to play Tony separately from George as when they play together their +/-'s are significantly lower then when they play apart. Both are +3.7 when they play together and Tony moves up to 4.9 when they play apart. George has a huge positive jump when they play apart rising to +5.5. George also becomes a distributor when they play separately with his assist average jumping to 4.5 from 1.9, when they play together. George's scoring average moves up three points from nine to 12 when they play apart. Tony's averages remain pretty much the same in either situation except his scoring average jumps three points from 18.4 to 21.1 when George is on the court. When Tony and George play together it's pretty clear Tony suffocates George's game.
When Manu and George play together, George's stats explode. George's +/- jumps to a elite point guard level of 8.7. His scoring climbs to 15.1 points per game and his field goal percentage is at 51%. Which means he's cashing in on all those good looks Manu is giving him. Manu's stats also jump significantly scoring at a 23.7 per game clip when he shares the court with George and 18.4 without him. Every single stat is improved for Manu when George is on the court with him. His three point percentage jumps six points when George is creating shots for him.
When Tony plays with Manu, it's a bit of a different story. While Tony very much benefits from playing with Manu as his +/- rating is pretty high at 7.6, Manu's production dips in scoring coming in at 20.1 and +/- falling to 7.6. Manu's numbers almost across the board are superior when playing with Hill instead of Parker. This pattern also holds true with Gary Neal. Neal is a much more efficient player with Hill creating shots for him. His +/- goes from a negative playing with Parker to a +4.5 playing with Hill.
You can say the same about Tim Duncan, McDyess and Matt Bonner with the +/- disparities. The only wing player who seems to benefit from Tony Parker on the floor is Richard Jefferson and that is because Tony will take the offensive responsibility off his shoulders.
This isn't taken from a small sample size. They all have played around 1,000 minutes with each other this year so it's proved itself out through the course of the season. Hill seems to be the better fit in the back court than Parker not to mention plays better with the bench players.
I think the time to trade Parker is now. If he's not excited about being in San Antonio, if he's the Spurs most trade-able asset and with every metric pointing to Hill being the point guard that better meshes with the wing players, it's best to strike while the iron is hot.
@Laredoart The Suns traded for Aaron Brooks last year in anticipation of Nash leaving. And, I doubt there is anyone on the Spurs team, including TP, that the Suns would trade Lopez for. If I were their GM, I wouldn't. Plus, Nash's salary is higher than TPs...
I guess I really don't understand why everyone is so afraid of re-building. Is it they think that they'll NEVER return to form like in early 2000? Perhaps they won't - you never know. But, the one thing we DO know is that currently constructed, we aren't competitive for a title. TP said it and Pops knows it. Why can't the fans see it?
Just like other consistently good teams, you TRADE assets that have value to get other assets that are more valuable to your scheme when you can. The Lakers traded Kwame Brown, guard Javaris Crittenton, guard Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first round picks in 2008 and 2010 for Pao Gasol. Miami signed Bosh and Lebron in FA for premium $. You've got to be bold and make moves to be successful.
Trade TP for one reason only - if there is a more advantageous combination of players and draft picks. Plain and simple. Place a numerical number on TP's value (between 50 and 100) for the next couple of seasons - let's say it's a 92. Any trade proposal must total a greater value for the next couple of seasons...
Is a combination of the #2 draft pick (probably Williams) greater than a 92? How about picking up Andre Iguodala and the 16th pick greater than a 92? There are other possible trades/situations that I can think of that WOULD be greater - like TP, RJ and Blair for Dwight Howard. That would be better.
TONY PARKER FOR STEVE NASH & ROBIN LOPEZ, Nash could teach Hill how to see the court like a true PG, have you guys ever watch Nash backup w/ the suns? The guy was just a good shooter, but a regular player a couple of years ago, now he can actually play like a distributor and a shooter, once again, Nash can help develope Hills game as a true PG, Parker can't play D and he can't shoot the 3, todays players have to play D and shoot the 3, but also Nash can provide us with good solid minutes, points and a true PG that can get the offense rolling and going, something that we don't have, at this moment and time. Lopez, is a good rebounder and a good blocker, just the lenght and presence we miss all year around, specially in the playoff. This trade makes sense for both team, and gives us a player in Nash, that's still hungry for the trophy, gives us a big good solid w/ good future player in Lopez, and gives up a player who doesnt believe in his teamates, and is only a offense player that cant play D and cant pass the ball.
You both make good points @JakeFaunce & @Tyrone Jenkins . I agree with you both that if Parker is to be traded that has to happen soon, rather than later, in order for us to get maximum value. However at this particular juncture I think it's more like "what can we get in return?" and I know you'll agree with me on this one. If there are no good assets on the market there's no point on giving TP away for nothing, even if it apparently seems he wants out (Not really sure about this). It's a complicated issue that the FO has to deal with but I'm confident they will do it right, the pretty much always do (With some exceptions not to be mentioned here). I hadn't considered the 3pt argument which is clearly a notable variable giving the spurs drive & kick kind of offense but again I think that depends on the development of Hill. Let me explain myself: Timmy is not getting doubled in the post anymore, most teams (comes to mind Memphis) are going one-on-one at him, one of the reasons why the offense went to Manu & TP, so for this D&K offense it is imperative that either Manu or TP or Hill open up spots with their penetration because Timmy can't do it from the post as often as he used to. So if Parker goes, there will only be Manu to set Hill for a three pointer (In the corner or the wings). This year I saw most 3s from Hill either from the corner (most of them) or coming from a screen from the top. If Hill develops a spot up 3 like the one Neal has ....well.... that wouldn't hurt us would it? but right now, as I said in my previous comment, I don't see him doing that just yet neither taking the point as TP does it right now. He can't create as Tony does, it all depends on his progress...
On the money issue I agree 100% with you, next season we will have almost 70 million on our books and the salary cap is expected to be much lower than that.
Finally, going back to the "What can we get in return?" if the FO trades Parker we would need a quality back up PG for Hill. And for that window to stay open we also need someone to step up. Tiago, Dejuan or Hill are the ones I think could do it.
There are too many variables and none of us can make an accurate assesment with the little information we have. Hill's improvement since his rookie year has been notable who knows? may be he surprises us (Mostly me) and shuts me up making a statement by taking over the team. I surely hope so, that would really help us.
Now THAT is excellent analysis...
Good points made by SmallF21 but I still think now's the time for a trade. Why?
TP is an excellent penetrator, distributer and decision maker. His defense is adequate and he's coachable. He's just about everything you'd want in your starting point guard. Almost. A major setback (to me at least) is that he's not that much of a 3 pt threat. His mid range game is above reproach but if he were to step back just 5 more feet, he'd probably score 2-3 more points per game w/ the combination of 3s made AND increased penetration due to being a 3 point shooting threat.
Also, TP costs more than Hill. A LOT more. About $10 million more.
Lastly, I think TP wants to be traded. His personality isn't such that if that's what he wants he'd feel like he could come right out and say it. His latest statements are probably as close as he's going to get. He sees the writing on the wall w/ the Spurs and he wants out. And, I feel as if it'd be somewhat of a kind gesture to trade him somewhere (in the Eastern conferece preferably) to obligue him.
I watched 76 of the 82 regular season games and all of the post season games, and aside stats I'm not too sure about this and here's why:
It seems clear that just by looking at stats Hill is a better fit for San Antonio but if you watch a Spurs game you can tell that when Manu is in the court with George, the one that dictates how the offense goes is Manu not Hill. So when Manu retires there's no way that Hill's numbers are going to be that good. On the other hand most of the minutes that Parker plays along Manu are against the starters of the other teams unlike Hill-Manu that plays a great amount of time against benches i.e. not so good defenses. At this point Hill can't create his own shot, he is a better defender than TP but his not that much of a playmaker as Tony is. The only way I see a trade coming is if we get a deal for an all-star SF. if that's not posible trading parker only would hurt our chances even more. Don't get me wrong I think George is an excellent player and He'll be an all-star caliber kind of player. But he's not ready to take the point just yet.
Some may say that we could get a Center too but... I'm still waithing for Tiago.... I know.... but I don't care, I still have faith in him :D. Go Spurs Go
@SmallF21 Something else to consider is how many years do the Spurs have left with TP playing at this level? I can't imagine he's going to be playing like this in 2-3 years when Manu retires. George Hill fit's better now and the Spurs window to win a title is closing fast. Trading Tony is something to consider. But like Jeff Garcia said, you have to get something major back or there's no way you can do it. He's one of the Big 3.
@JakeFaunce @SmallF21 Everyone plays better with Manu. Himself is a threat to the oppenent as well as create some many opportunities to his teammates. So the fact is indeed the Manu/Hill combo plays better than Hill/TP combo or Manu/TP combo. However, I don't think Hill can be a full-time starting PG, at least not now. His ball-handling and speed is far behind from an elite PG. He can be a really capable 6th man though.
Get rid of Parker and give someone else a chance. We don't need a player on the Spurs team who doesn't believe in his team. Tony has changed dramatically ever since he married Eva. He thinks of himself as a Hollywood celebrity now and you can tell he'd rather be in some other city than San Antonio. Tony Parker, les San Antonio Spurs ne vous avez besoin et survivre sans vous. Bon Voyage!
@Genreboy12 You know I am not ready to see TP go. Unless it's for some bad ass big man. He is the youngest of the big 3.
So wait, the back up George Hill plays like a true point guard and makes his teammates better while the starter Tony Parker doesn't raise his teammates game as well as the back up while also trashing the Spurs title chances in the media? The Spurs need to begin exploring trades! It's been a good run Tony, but the Spurs have found your replacement!
Parker for Steve Nash & Robin Lopez
I know Steve Nash is old, but his experience, the ability to shoot and run any offense like a true PG should, and adding the fact that he can teach all of our young guards, I know his defense is not going to help us, but he can be a leader and having his shooting from our bench, well help mantain rythem and leads,I also think he can get Hill ready for the playoff, that would be some of the real good things that Steve offers. Now regarting Lopez, the dude is more than solid and his not even at his full potential, so, we can get the size that we need, he can rebound, block, and do the dirty work, that at this point and moment, none of the spurs can get done.