I will admit, when it was announced that the Hornets were signing Tony Parker, I was immediately against it. I thought Parker was too old to contribute and I felt that we would have done better by going in a different direction at the backup point guard position.
I’m now elated to say that I was indeed wrong. The backup PG position has long been a position that decided whether or not the Hornets would be able to compete for a playoff spot since Kemba Walker has become a star. Jeremy Lin was the last good Hornets backup and we almost won a playoff series that season. After watching missed layup after missed layup from Michael Carter-Williams last year, good fortune has finally come our way in future Hall of Famer, Tony Parker.
On the surface, it doesn’t look like Tony Parker has been that good. He’s averaging 10 points and four assists on some of the lowest shooting percentages of his career. Metrics like WS/48, BPM, and VORP don’t love him. However, moments like Friday nights win against the Brooklyn Nets is exactly why we’ll gladly take those sub-par stats. Due to Kemba’s torrid start to the season, defenses key in on Kemba in the fourth quarter and try to make someone else on the Hornets beat them. A simple strategy, yet it’s worked efficiently against Charlotte. However, in some of these scenarios, Parker has been the steadying hand to get the Hornets through these moments.
Against the Brooklyn Nets, Parker went into his bag and delivered a quality performance to help the Hornets finish out the game:
Parker went vintage with blow bys, floaters, mid-range jumpers, and his patented spin move. This isn’t the first time Parker has shown up big this season. He’s had big games against the Pistons, Nuggets, and the Bucks, just to name a few.
While his jump shot can be spotty, there is no doubt that Parker is clutch and for the Hornets, that’s massive. His experience and leadership has been huge in guiding the Hornets this year. Additionally, Parker can take pressure off Kemba and put him in off-ball situations so he doesn’t have to do as much on the offensive side of the ball. Per nba.com, with Parker on the court, Walker’s net rating jumps from .8 to 3.3, his EFG% jumps from 50.5% to 57.1% and his TS% jumps from 54.9% to 63.7. The numbers clearly show the effect that Parker has on the court for Kemba.
The one question is how long will Parker last. He’s in his 18th season and is 36 years old. Borrego has done his best to manage his minutes as he is averaging a career low in minutes this year. Also, Borrego holds him out of some games as he didn’t play against the Wizards in a back-to-back. This gives me hope that Parker will be able to continue to do what he’s been doing. Hornets fans can only hope that’s the case as it’s been extremely fun to watch so far this season.