I wrote about Tony Parker earlier in the season when the state of things were much more optimistic in Charlotte. Parker had a lot of big games early on in the season and was key in helping us win certain games. In the new year, Parker continued this stretch of big games (20 points in a win against Phoenix and 17 points in a win against Memphis) but ultimately, he was shut down for the last 13 games of the season, as Charlotte focused on their youth movement. This was questionable at the time considering Parker was one of the only guys on the roster who could create his own shot, but ultimately Charlotte went 8-5 in those games which might say something about his value for the Hornets.
Parker gave the Hornets around 10 points on 46% shooting and four assists on the nights that he did play which is really solid for a backup point guard. However, Parker’s lack of three-point shooting ability (25.5%) and bad defense really did hurt the Hornets at times. Parker had a -5.3 box plus/minus which was a career low. To be fair to Parker, the lineups he was in with weren’t very good but he also was contributing in some cases to those lineups not being very good.
Parker was never at any point in his career a good defender but his lack of size and old age made him pretty bad this year. Now, defense isn’t the most important thing for backup point guards but his lack of mobility because of his age hurt more than if there was a younger player in his position. Additionally, many threes were passed up by Parker that would’ve helped if a league average shooter was in his position.
However, Parker brought other things to the table that made his signing defensible. His leadership was important in key moments when the Hornets faced adversity. In addition, he made several big clutch shots when defense would key in on Kemba at the end of games. Parker had experience that was defintely needed in those moments and he passed on a lot of wisdom to the young guys on the team. Parker knew how to run a team and that was something that had been missed from the backup point guard position for the Hornets.
It was fun having Parker on the Hornets this past year because of the key moments he had (17 points in the 4th against the Nets) and I ultimately don’t think he was part of the larger problem of why the Hornets were bad. He helped bridge the gap for Devonte Graham and I think it was very valuable for Graham to have him as a mentor this year. However, I think the Hornets should move on from him this offseason. If we don’t re-sign Kemba, we need to focus on our youth movement.
Final Grade: Overall, I give his signing a C+. He showed up big in several games but didn’t really move the needle that much.