NBA Roundtable

Tony Parker Breaks Bone In Hand

In 2010 NBA Playoffs, General NBA on March 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

ESPN reports

San Antonio guard Tony Parker left Saturday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies with a broken bone in his right hand and could miss six weeks.

Parker broke the fourth metacarpal — the bone between the bottom knuckle and the wrist — near the end of the first half and did not return to the game. The injury apparently occurred during a scramble for the ball.

“I knew it was a scrum,” teammate Tim Duncan said. “… He said he reached for the ball, and hit the ball or hit a body or a hand or something.”

Return Date

Six weeks = early in the first round

Spurs Playoff Chances

Sinking … quickly

The Spurs are currently seventh in the Western Conference with a record of 36 wins and 24 losses. They have a large advantage in the W-L column over the ninth and tenth seeds and don’t appear to be in any danger of losing their playoff spot.

However, the Spurs have 22 games remaining over the next five weeks. The most out of any playoff team in the West. They’ll have to play this entire packed schedule without Tony Parker. Consequently, the odds of San Antonio moving up the table are slim which means that they’ll be a low seeded playoff team playing against one of the best squads in the West in the first round of the playoffs.

Secondly, Tony Parker will only be returning somewhere in the first round of the playoffs. He’ll be healthy but not in game shape. A problem which could be even more severe for him since the injury on his shooting hand. An injury which could greatly effect his ability to be a high scoring point guard and/or his ability to be a penetrating point guard who thrives on getting into the middle of the paint and finishing amongst the trees inside (plus drawing fouls). So, it’s a major question mark whether or not Tony Parker is going to be able to be a dominant player straight away once he returns.

Finally, there is also the disruptive influence of Parker’s return. The Spurs are going to develop a whole new sense of chemistry with Parker out. Hill will now play the point instead of a lot of minutes as a starting two. The team will have to adapt to his less explosive scoring/playmaking ability. The team will also have to find alternative scoring options, players who will be asked to do more and then have to readjust once Parker returns. The differences in lineups used, in playing time and in their individual responsibilities. And it’s not like the Spurs have been the most cohesive squad this season either unlike in year’s past when they were a well-oiled machine.

Then add in their pressure packed schedule and gearing up for the playoffs, a time when they’ll hopefully be in top form, and now throw in a ball dominant player like Tony Parker who is still recovering from injury. A player who needs a lot of touches and a lot of shot attempts. It will throw the entire squad’s rhythm off.

The issue of Tony Parker’s performance once he returns from injury + the disruptive influence of a major playing returning at playoff time + the possibility of Parker missing some of the first round due to injury + the Spurs low playoff seeding … not an attractive picture for San Antonio.

It will depend on what team they’re matched up against (likely the Dallas Mavericks) but this is not a good starting position for the Spurs.

Way Forward

San Antonio have a very talented backup point guard in George Hill  who is fully capable of playing full time minutes as a starter in this league and making a good impact for his team. The Spurs also have Roger Mason Jr, a solid combo-guard who will make a good backup point guard. So, the Spurs are able to keep two good-to-very good role players on the floor at all times at the point guard position despite the loss of Tony Parker.

San Antonio should also move Manu Ginobili into the starting lineup alongside Keith Bogans on the wing. Manu’s ball-handling + passing + playmaking + go-to scoring will make George Hill’s life a lot easier and allow the Spurs starting lineup to continue being a a strong unit.

The Spurs should keep Richard Jefferson in his backup role. He is a good sixth man who can provide instant offense.

Out of all of the players on the Spurs roster, the two players who should benefit the most from this injury are George Hill and Richard Jefferson. Hill will be able to play his natural position and pile up 30-35 minutes a night in the process. Meanwhile, Jefferson will be asked to fill the scoring void left behind by Tony Parker. That means more touches, more play calls and more shot attempts. Jefferson has struggled with his offense this year but this increased level of responsibilities/opportunities should be just the spark he needs. I fully expect RJ’s level of play to improve dramatically + Hill to make good contributions as a starting point guard.

The Spurs should become a better defensive club with Tony Parker sitting out and with George Hill taking a larger role. However, the Spurs main defensive problems are amongst the role players up front (big men) and that will remain a major issue.

Note: The Spurs still have enough talent on the floor to continue winning at a .600-to-.700 win pace the rest of the way. I haven’t checked their schedule but talent wise they’re still a very good squad even without Tony Parker on the floor.

An Audition

The Spurs should use this period as an audition for George Hill. Monitor closely how successful he is as a starting point guard and use that information to decide whether or not to make Tony Parker available in a trade this summer.

Trading Parker could be San Antonio’s best chance at upgrading their roster either in the short term or the long term (link one + link two = discussion in comments section on that possibility).

This period could also push a trade in another direction. In combining RJ’s 2011 expiring contract + an improved George Hill + possibly some other incentives (first round picks, draft rights to Splitter, DeJuan Blair) and lead San Antonio to making a trade for a fourth impact player while keeping Tony Parker. Perhaps for a younger star, a star in his prime, who they can build around alongside Parker for the next 5-8 years + provide a boost to their title chances while Duncan still has some life left in him.

  1. Who are you thinking for the 4th younger star?

  2. Hey Raps Fan,

    I have nobody particular in mind.

    Amare Stoudemire? Danny Granger? A lot would have to change for Indiana to consider parting ways with Granger though. Andre Iguodala? An Iggy + Speights trade package would be tempting.

    Honestly, I’m not overly optimistic about the level of talent that will be available in a trade next season. It feels like 2010 free agency + the number of teams with settled rosters (playoff teams) + teams in a long term rebuilding process … it’s hard to see many elite players being available.

  3. hey dave, i have a random question. What do you think the Hornets are going to do with Collison once Chris Paul comes back. Tied to that, what do you think his trade value is? Good young player + cheap contract should garner a good return in my opinion.

  4. Hey Dino Gunners,

    I think they’ll keep Collison and use him as Paul’s backup + give him some more minutes alongside Paul.

    However, New Orleans should trade Collison. They have plenty of other assets which they could use to improve a potential trade package — expiring contracts + David West + Marcus Thornton/Julian Wright + low 2010 lottery pick — those additional trade assets give the Hornets a great deal of flexibility in the trade market.

    Ball-Parking Collison’s Trade Value

    (1) Collison for draft pick = low lottery to mid first rounder
    (2) Collison for prospect = a good prospect = examples … someone like Marreese Speights. Ryan Anderson. Nicolas Batum. Wilson Chandler. Those types of prospects. Possibly Andray Blatche depending on how he finishes the season (continues like this, he won’t be on the table for Collison).
    (3) Collison + expiring contract = borderline All-Star
    (4) Collison + David West = perennial All-Star

  5. Dave,

    Conversely …

    What do you think the Hornets could get, if they decided to trade Chris Paul, instead?

  6. Dino Gunners and Raps Fan,

    How do you think things would have turned out for the Raptors this season, if they would have done what I suggested they do in the 2009 NBA Draft, re: Marcus Thornton/New Orleans and Derrick Brown/Charlotte?

    [i.e. passed on DeRozan; and, traded down to acquire any 2 of the following players … e.g. Taj Gibson, Derrick Brown, Dante Cunningham, or Marcus Thornton … with lower tiered draft picks]

  7. Hey Khandor,

    I think trading Chris Paul is only worthwhile if they get an established top ten player in return who is a comparable age or younger … New Orleans have a higher opinion of Paul than I do, so their demands should be a top five player.

    Clear Option
    : Dwight Howard + LeBron James + Kevin Durant

    Borderline Cases: Chris Bosh + Dwyane Wade (age + injury concerns) + Deron Williams (doesn’t remove the Collison playing time issue) + Brandon Roy + Carmelo Anthony.

    I don’t think any of the clear-cut trade ideas will be available. The 2010 free agency rules out Wade + Bosh for the next while. I don’t think Denver would consider trading Melo given how successful their team is + how close to a title they believe they are. I don’t think Utah trades Deron for Paul since Deron is deemed a better fit for their style of basketball.

    Brandon Roy looks the only possibility. I don’t think New Orleans considers this trade and I’m not sure whether Portland would or not.

    In conclusion, the trade market for Chris Paul is not promising. They can clearly get a lot of talent in return but I doubt that they can get a comparable/superior individual talent of similar/younger age. Consequently, trading Chris Paul is not an option New Orleans should pursue.

    Their best trade option would be to take a risk on a young elite prospect (like a Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans) while also acquiring further talents in the trade. I do not consider that a good option when you’re losing a player as talented + as young as Chris Paul.

  8. Darren Collison’s Stats As A Starter

    Darren Collison — 19ppg + 8.3apg + 3.6rpg in 39 minutes a night as a starter while shooting 48% from the field, 40% from three and 87% from the FT line for a true shooting percentage of 56%.

    A sample size of 25 games (1,000 minutes).

  9. Khandor,

    From an objective standpoint, the best case for the Raptors would have been to resign marion to his terms, trade down (as you suggested), and make the Amir Johnson trade.

    It was clear that offense wasnt an issue for this team last year. Sometimes we were guilty of lacking a facilitator or late game scorer, but those positives that Turk bring are not as significant as the rebounding and defense Marion would have provided. Additionally, we could have gotten Marion on a shorter contract at a smaller dollar figure.

    Agree with trading down, but I am not a fan of Marcus Thorton. Even though his scoring stats are great, his poor attributes in the other facets of the game are a detriment to his value.

    I have been a huge Amir Johnson fan, even though his foul rate is a concern. His advanced stat metrics proved that he is a quality player.

    Khandor, Dave what do you think the Raptors should do this offseason? Because outside of extending Bosh, I see no light at the end of this tunnel.

  10. Dino Gunners,

    Khandor, Dave what do you think the Raptors should do this offseason? Because outside of extending Bosh, I see no light at the end of this tunnel.

    Bosh Leaves Toronto

    I think the Raptors should undergo a full blown long term rebuilding process. They should trade Bargnani + Turkoglu and possibly Calderon too.

    The Raptors will begin to rebuild slowly through the draft and then hopefully put the finishing touches on the job through the cap flexibility + trade assets that they’ve built.

    Bosh Stays With Toronto

    The Raptors cannot rebuild if Chris Bosh resigns. He will be willing to go through a rebuilding process. That means the Raptors have to put their best foot forward and try to engineer some sustainable progress for as long as they can.

    That means rolling with DeMar DeRozan and hoping he develops into an All-Star caliber player. A realistic expectation but not a certainty.

    The Raptors should also keep Hedo Turkoglu because they won’t be able to upgrade him talent wise via a trade. He offers his most value as a player.

    Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon are the two main trading chips but I don’t have a good read on where there trade value is currently. Consequently, it’s impossible to tell whether they have more value as trade assets or as players to the Raptors. Toronto should explore trade possibilities with both players this summer in order to find out that answer.

    Amir Johnson is an excellent player in relation to what he is likely to ask for in free agency this summer (around $4-5 million). Toronto should resign him.

    The Raptors should be willing to take a short term luxury tax hit next season with the idea of Reggie Evans + Marcus Banks expiring next year and giving them some financial breathing room in 2011. They need to take the hit in order to keep Amir and/or to spend their MLE.

    Any potential MLE targets will be decided by the results of the Bargnani/Calderon trade discussions. Whether they’re staying or going and if they’re going who is coming to Toronto. Those answers will decide what type of player Toronto should or should not pursue in free agency. Do the Raps still need a main backup wing? Or do they need another 25-30 minute a night big man? Or a replacement backup point guard?

    I do not expect Toronto to resign Amir + spend their MLE. If Toronto does make that decision, I have no problem with it. It would create a considerable burden ($20 million extra in payroll after luxury tax) for what will be two bench players. If Toronto does not resign Amir Johnson then I would expect management to use their MLE.

    The three main MLE targets I’d be keeping my eye on at the moment are Tyrus Thomas + Luis Scola (both if Bargnani or Amir leave) + Travis Outlaw (more lineup flexibility + a backup wing).

    In summary, I would expect the status quo from the Raptors. For the same squad to be brought back and for any improvement to come from player development and in particular from DeMar DeRozan. If they do make a change, I think the best potential avenues will be from trading Bargnani and/or Calderon. I do not expect them to spend their MLE.

    I think the biggest variable + best hope for Toronto’s future is DeMar DeRozan’s potential. If he develops well, then the Raptors could quite easily become 50+ win team. If he doesn’t, it will leave Toronto in a situation where they lack young talent + flexibility to make substantial moves. In other words, it leaves them between a rock and hard place with no firm direction for how to improve their team (to contender status).

  11. Dino Gunners,

    Personally, I’d prefer to wait for this mess of a season to end, first, before making any further concrete recommendations for their long term improvement.

    The one thing I am prepared to say, at this point, is that Bryan Colangelo needs to be able to re-sign Chris Bosh this summer, if he’s going to be able to sustain his current reputation, as a top flight GM in the NBA [not that I necessarily agree with that specific take, as you know already].

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