Despite the loss of the greatest power forward to have played in the NBA, Tim Duncan and an influx of youthful newcomers, Tony Parker believes the Spurs are still going to have a great team next season.
Parker shared his input on the 2016 season and the confidence he has for the Spurs. “Obviously, we are going to miss him a lot,” the veteran point guard said of Duncan. “You can’t replace a guy like Timmy. But we will try to do our best to keep the Spurs going and to keep winning.”
Parker spoke at his youth basketball camp at the Alamo City Sportsplex, Parker said he is still trying to come to terms with the loss of Duncan to retirement after 19 seasons as the team’s linchpin player. Who could blame Parker for feeling a certain way after the retirement of Duncan, his long-time friend and teammate? No longer will the two be able to share road trips together and speak on behalf of their game plan. Nor will they be able to celebrate a Spurs win at home as much as they would if they were still playing together.
It’s probable that Duncan will attend as many home/away games as he can in order to support his former team. His presence will be appreciated by the team and the fans once he attends the Spurs first home game as an attendee rather than a player. There’s no question that Duncan’s mentorship will remain present in the Spurs locker room even as a retired player.
There were a few additional comments Parker made about Duncan’s overall performance throughout his career. “He was the greatest power forward of all time and he made my job easy every night,” Parker said.
With Duncan gone, Parker, 34, is now the senior Spur with 15 seasons. Manu Ginobili has logged 14 seasons with the Silver & Black. The two have definitely made their presence on and off the court for the Spurs organization. It is likely that their veteran leadership will depended upon by their younger and upcoming teammates.
“I’m just going to try to be a good leader and welcome all the new guys and try to help them as much as I can and just show them the Spurs cultur
e and what we do here,” Parker said.
In addition to Duncan, the Spurs will also be without Parker’s longtime friend Boris Diaw, who was traded to Utah. Diaw’s presence would have impacted the Spurs’ game plan due to his knowledge and skill he has for the game. Not to mention, Diaw was already adapting to the Spurs culture and beginning to execute their game plan exceptionally well.
“It’s definitely going to be a big change, definitely going to miss them,” Parker said of Duncan and Diaw. “It’s definitely going to be a different season next year.”
Not all hope was lost for the Spurs organization as they made clever moves of their own during free agency. The newcomers to the team will include veteran center Pau Gasol, who Parker called a “great basketball player with a lot of knowledge.” Parker believes that Gasol is a helpful addition to the team and respects his basketball skills.
Other newcomers include 19-year-old point guard Dejounte Murray, the organization’s first round pick who transitions to the NBA after one season at the University of Washington.
Parker made sure he spoke with Murray after the organization drafted him in June. “I can’t wait to get to camp and see what he can give us,” Parker said.
Other new faces include sharpshooting big man Davis Bertans, shot blocker Dewayne Dedmon and forward Livio Jean-Charles, who played for Parker’s French-owned team. All of these additional players that the Spurs managed to pick up through free agency and the NBA draft gives them hope. The team feels they can compete with anyone in the league and are anxious to capture another title.
The Spurs already come equipped with their own talented players in Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Lamarcus Aldridge. The three players’ success resulted in the Spurs winning as many as 67 games overall. Especially having one of the best home records in the NBA with a 40-1 record. These statistics give the team confidence that they have the benefit of the doubt when it comes to playing in their home court. Despite their home record from last season, the Spurs have always given every team a run for their money. The Spurs have a history of never taking any team for granted and have always competed in every game no matter how high or low the competition appears to be.
This upcoming season for the Spurs is going to be one that fans and the players will have to adjust to. Sure, they won’t have Duncan alongside on the court, but the Spurs have never been a one-man team, they have always been an all-around sound team. As long as Gregg Popovich, the Spurs head coach is around, everything should turn out just fine, but doesn’t mean the ride to success will be easy.
“I think it’s going to be a lot different because we have a lot of young guys, so it’s going to take us some time for us to jell,” Parker said. “But they are great basketball players and they have some knowledge and they know how to play. Hopefully, they can get it fast and we can have another great season.”