You Can’t Get to Rock ‘n’ Roll Without Going Through the Blues
San Antonio 93, Memphis 109 // 49-11 // 1st in the West
San Antonio 109, Cleveland 99 // 50-11 // 1st in the West
Show of hands: who still thinks we should trade Tony Parker?
Thats’s what I thought. Because as good and as valuable as George Hill is to this team, he is not a starting-level point guard in the NBA. He just isn’t. He is a much better than average back-up PG, and he’s a very good 2-guard. And in a 3-guard rotation with Parker and Ginobili, he is deadly, giving us 3 reliable ball-handlers and playmakers and scorers.
But he can’t run the offense like Parker does. And these last 2 games demonstrate both the best and the worst of Hill. He was absolutely awful in Memphis, pressing way too much, turning the ball over, and making our offense look ragged. Without Parker and with Hill performing so poorly, it puts way too much pressure on Ginoblil to be our main scorer and facilitator and makes our offense way too predictable. The Grizzlies played fine defense for sure, but we certainly helped them out by running something that looked nothing like our offense.
In Cleveland Hill had a much better game, scoring in bunches and running the offense more smoothly. But it still wasn’t as clean or as efficient as when Parker runs it, and we won the game more with superior talent and corporate knowledge than anything else. Hill has great athletic ability, and uses it to get to the rim and to his spots. But he lacks the creativity and wiliness of Parker (or Ginobili) and has trouble finishing at the rim in traffic and getting those sneaky lay-ups that make you wonder how he even got the shot off. Hill is a much more effective player playing off of Ginobili and Parker and finding offense in the wake of what they create. As is pretty much everyone else on the roster.
And that’s where Parker’s true value is found. Parker often gets knocked unfairly for being ‘selfish’ or for being a ‘score first’ point guard. True, he scores a lot, and he has a gift for scoring. But if you define a PG by how well a player runs the offense, Parker is magnificent. Because scoring is how he runs the offense; and scoring is what he is being asked to do by the coaching staff. How do you think we get all of those wide-open 3s? Where do you suppose all of the lanes that open up for Hill and Neal come from? Why are Blair and McDyess always in great position to clean up offensive rebounds and get putback baskets? Because of Parker and his orchestration of the offense. Because Parker can get into the lane so easily, and because his creative moves are so effective once he gets in there, defenses must choose to stop him–in which case he kicks the ball out and everyone else’s offense has just been created–or stay at home on the shooters and other slashers, in which case Parker scores and scores often. Boom. San Antonio Spurs offense is created.
Hill is a great player, and wonderful to have as Parker insurance. But nothing beats the real thing.
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