Posted February 19, 2014

Spurs’ Tony Parker to sit out ‘for the foreseeable future’

Rob Mahoney, San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker
Tony Parker will join Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard on the shelf for the Spurs. (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tony Parker will join Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard on the shelf for the Spurs. (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Even in pulling off the second-best record in the Western Conference to date, the Spurs haven’t quite managed to meet their own standards for consistent execution. Gregg Popovich would likely lay the blame for that with the team itself, though San Antonio’s players haven’t at all been helped by a frequent and layered run of injuries. Every week seems to bring some rotation player’s absence, and when compounded those ailments that changes the Spurs’ working conditions dramatically.

San Antonio’s latest scratch, though, is especially painful in that strive for consistency. According to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News, Popovich disclosed that All-Star point guard Tony Parker will be sidelined “for the foreseeable future” by a “variety of maladies” — Parker’s latest back tweak undoubtedly among them. That, on top of injuries to Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, leaves the Spurs without their three best perimeter players and terribly understaffed in terms of shot creation.

It should go without saying that a team missing a ball handler of Parker’s caliber would suffer offensively in his absence, but that needs be reiterated in light of the widespread reverence for San Antonio’s depth. The Spurs are more effective than most in terms of compensating for absent stars, but only so much can be done when Parker and Ginobili — the tandem of which provides the impetus for San Antonio’s base offense — are both unavailable. Remove Leonard as well, and Cory Joseph, Danny Green, Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills are thrust into uncomfortably demanding roles.

Competency can still be expected; these are the Spurs, after all, even without some of their best players in uniform. But Parker’s absence will cost San Antonio in both the short and long term, as this team can’t well be expected to sort out its big-picture issues without its best offensive player in uniform. It seems more than a bit unlikely that the Spurs will somehow turn around their crummy record against top teams sans Parker, to say nothing of Ginobili or Leonard. Beyond that, every game missed is a delay in San Antonio’s opportunity to work its way into momentum. For a Spurs team that hasn’t often played championship-level basketball this season, that’s a bit of a problem.

It’s hard to gauge the full implications of Parker’s injury until we get a better sense of what Popovich meant by “foreseeable future,” but at the very least this is an inconvenience for a team whose immediate schedule features away games against the Clippers, Blazers, and Suns in succession. Under better circumstances, that trio of games is a clarifying run for a Spurs team looking to fine-tune on its way out of the All-Star break. Instead it’s an exercise in doing without, and yet another test for a team persistently at less than full strength.

7 comments
twinm85
twinm85

Blinker and Mark112: you guys know nothing about the spurs. think about this for a minute: if tony takes a couple of weeks off to rest and get back to 100%, then he'll be fresher than he's been for the playoffs for quite some time. go back to those last two games in the finals: tony was gassed and contributed almost nothing (he was likely 4th in Finals MVP talk being kawhi, tim and danny, if that's any indication), and yet the spurs still should have won game 6 and were within a missed tim duncan bunny from tying in the final minute of game 7. considering the spurs got that far with the only memorable moments from tony being his game-clincher in game 1 and a couple of big 4th qtr shots in game 6, imagine how far they would go if he's 100% instead of gassed in the finals.


do the spurs have what it takes to get back to the finals and win this year? i don't know, but no one thought they did last year either and look where that got them. forget westbrook's injury, most were predicting the spurs would lose in the first round to that sorry lakers team that barely squeaked into the playoffs and every series after that. ask youself, is it really that helpful to judge a team that has consistently been 3-4 main-rotation players short for two months, most of those injuries being freak ones to the younger players? no, especially when they have the 3rd best record in the league. per usual, write off the spurs at your own peril. you'll likely regret it.

John4
John4

Hard to gauge the implication of Parker's injury?  No, it is not.  The Spurs are certainly going to the playoffs, and (in the West) are probably the second or third best team. Behind the Thunder and possibly even with the Clippers (due to the Spurs' significant amount of injuries).  Are they a threat to win the Championship  Probably not, but they are a top team in the NBA.  An added benefit of the injuries?  (Assuming they heal) - They will be well rested for the playoffs.  

Blinker
Blinker

Getting old.  Nothing else.. I saw them every close to New Years against Sacramento.  They damn near lost that one in San Antonio.  Whew......

Mark112
Mark112

The things that Coach Popovich should be blamed for are growing in importance with each passing season. As has been much documented, Pop blew it in the finals last year, being outcoached by Spoelstra of all people, and now the Spurs are crumbling due to age and attrition. It was a great ride while it lasted. 

Listening
Listening

@twinm85

Hey Twinkie...  I mean twinm85.  Calm down man.  It's just a basketball team.


twinm85
twinm85

@Blinker  who's your team?  i think we can find at least one game for every team in which they were upset or barely got by against a team they should have blown out.  it's an 82-game schedule, numb nuts.  all games will be different and it's something that happens to every team every year.

natt773
natt773

@Mark112  Not everyone on the team is as old as Tim Duncan. They've still got some years left before they get new star players like the Rockets did in 2012