Three NBA championships, one NBA Finals MVP, and four NBA All-Star appearances make for a decent shot at Springfield, Massachusetts immortality.
As one very new point guard in New York makes the headlines, another in the Alamo City keeps on running under the radar.
How much more can Tony Parker be ignored as a great player and awesome point guard? This past week he became the San Antonio Spurs’ all-time assists leader, replacing spunky Avery Johnson at the top of the charts.
Also this week, he made his fourth All-Star team representing the Western squad. He’ll be on the bench with Russell Westbrook, who is considered by many to be at the top of the list with Derrick Rose for best all-around athletic point guards in today’s NBA.
Both Westbrook and Parker are backing up Chris Paul in this year’s NBA All-Star game. Paul is considered as the best pure point guard by many in the inner circles of NBA critics.
Westbrook has been getting a lot of deserved attention over the last couple of seasons for his sensational quickness, athleticism on both ends, and shooter’s touch. Rose is a ditto, but with a little more phenom than Westbrook. Paul is a maestro with pure assist-making and shot-making rolled into one body.
Jeremy Lin has set the sports world on fire this past week with his performances over the last 3 games, averaging more than 20 points while dishing assists and making big play after big play for the New York Knicks.
Lin has the rare chance, like a Tim Tebow, to make a big impact because of what he brings to his sport outside of the skill needed to play. As an Asian-American, he has the chance to break down boundaries previously never broken before him. He is already a crowd favorite and media darling.
Before Westbrook, Rose and Lin, the cool, ‘in’ point guards among the critics had been Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams. Also, Baron Davis and Chauncey Billups had their reigns for some time.
For many years, the most familiar names to be called best point guards were Steve Nash and Jason Kidd. Both are locks for the Hall Of Fame. Their individual statistics are superior to any of the competition. Nash has two League MVP’s and Kidd is recognized for his overall longevity and championship with the Dallas Mavericks from last year.
The showman point guard position in the NBA is like the quarterback position in the NFL. They run the show, have to take the hits and get everybody else involved. They have to be crafty, heady and poised.
Parker is not in the top tier statistically all-time for point guards, but he is beginning to get there. The difference between him and the others is the multiple hardware to back it all up.
Parker has meant everything to the Spurs just as the other point guards have meant to their teams, but they don’t have the titles that Parker has. Of course, the others didn’t have Duncan and Ginobili in their primes either.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com