Tony Parker has been pretty good this season, he just has not been The Tony Parker. The quick penetrating point guard that struck fear into the hearts of teams across the land and led the Spurs to titles has been replaced by a slower, not quite as good shooting version. Sort of like the second Darrin on Bewitched.
The reason is injuries, the nagging and pestering kind. There was the sprained ankle, the strained hip, the plantar fasciitis. There were some missed games, but it has largely been things that just slowed Parker down a step. And since his game is based on being a step faster than everyone else — that and a pretty little floater in the lane — he has not played up to his own standards.
He needs some rest. So he is considering taking off the FIBA World Championships this summer, he told the San Antonio Express News.
That is no small thing — these championships are a big deal basically everywhere outside the United States. And Tony Parker is the engine that makes the French team go the same way he does for the Spurs.
“I think it’s finally catching up with me a little bit,” Parker said before Wednesday’s practice. “What it tells me is I’m going to have to make decisions about my priorities. At the end of the season, I’m definitely going to sit down and look at what happened this year, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Parker has not completely ruled out playing for France this summer, but he admits he will have to think long and hard before committing to another grueling basketball summer. He will be heading into the final year of his contract, and says he is serious about returning his game to an All-Star level next season.
As always and forever, it’s about the money. Parker gets one more big kick at the contract can, and he wants to really step into it and make it a good one (providing the CBA negotiations don’t pull a Lucy on him and just yank the ball out). Plus, he will have plenty of chances to represent his country when he plays for France in any Olympic qualifying and then the Olympics themselves in 2012.
So he may take this summer off and kick it at a beach-front vacation home with wife Eva Longoria. Rough life.