In case you ever wondered why Gregg Popovich doesn’t love it when his players spend the summer playing for their national teams, here is Tony Parker’s quote from after leading France to the EuroBasket title:
“It was very hard for me physically. I am very tired now. It’s been a long season, so it’s hard for me to say if I will play (in the FIBA World Cup of basketball next summer).”
Spurs training camp opens in a week.
While Popovich will certainly rest Parker through camp and at points during the season as well, it’s far less than ideal that the team’s key offensive player is heading into camp already tired from a deep run into the playoffs (including seven games in the Finals) then a lengthy summer with the national team.
We had reported before that Parker’s father said his son would sit out next summer, but Parker was more general after winning the EuroBasket MVP. Parker himself was more vague, speaking at his press conference, via Catch & Shoot (translated by Hoopshype).
“To be honest, I do not know yet. In 2015 (Olympic qualifying) and 2016 (the Rio Olympics), I’ll play for sure. But next year, it will depend on how I feel.”
San Antonio came within seconds of another NBA title last June and they will have two more cracks at it, this season and next. After that expect Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to retire and the Spurs to rebuild around Kawhi Leonard and others.
To make those serious challenges, the Spurs will need Parker playing like he did in the playoffs last year and these European championships. Parker is what makes the San Antonio offense work.
So I think we know how Popovich will suggest Parker spend next summer — if he goes to France, it should be the beaches in the south only.