Parker hopes to add another to his burgeoning collection.
Since he entered the NBA, in 1997, Tim Duncan has played in more regular-season wins (538) than any other player. Robert Horry ranks second over that span, seeing action in 502 wins for the Lakers and the Spurs.
Record: 58-24 (3rd in West) Points scored: 98.5 (14th in NBA) Points allowed: 90.1 (1st) Coach: Gregg Popovich (12th season with
Only one man can push the champs to greater glory: their globe-trotting guard
The Tony Parker World Tour 2007 has finally downshifted from fifth gear to
fourth, but, oh, what a ride it has been. The first stop was Cleveland, where
the point guard led the Spurs to their fourth NBA title in nine years and was
named Finals MVP. Then there was a wedding in France you may have read about and
an exchange of vows with a Hollywood star you may have heard of. That was
followed by a honeymoon in Turks and Caicos, a trip to Spain to play for the
French national team in the European Championships and a stopover in Paris to be inducted
into the French Legion of Honor. "I didn't really have time," Parker says, "to
enjoy my championship."
He did, however, have time to get a tattoo of a wedding ring on his left ring
finger. Now Parker's focus has shifted to delivering another ring (the real
deal, not the ink variety) to San Antonio -- because the Spurs have not yet won
back-to-back titles during their long run of success.
While San Antonio will be Tim Duncan's team for as long as he wears the
silver-and-black, the defending champ's bid for a repeat depends on the
continued development of Parker. On a team whose other core players are all in
or past their primes, Parker, 25, still has significant upside.
He made strides last season, adding a midrange shot to prevent defenders from
always going underneath on pick-and-rolls. And in the sweep of the Cavaliers,
Parker played what coach Gregg Popovich considers his best ball ever, slicing to
the rim for easy buckets and averaging 24.5 points on 56.8% shooting.
The knock on Parker's game has been his long-range jumper, but Popovich plans
to let Parker shoot the deep ball more this season. "I think it's time to let
him go ahead and prove [that he can make it]," says Popovich. "If he gets that
down, he's going to be pretty tough to handle." -- Gene Menez