Tony Parker

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Tony Parker retiring

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Tony Parker‘s long run as the Spurs’ starting point guard – which began as a teenager who’d just come from France in 2001 – ended when he ceded way to Dejounte Murray last season. Parker’s time in San Antonio ended when he signed with the Hornets last summer. Parker’s 17-year playoff streak – which trails only Karl Malone and John Stockton all-time – ended when Charlotte missed the postseason this year.

And now Parker’s great career will end entirely.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

“I’m going to retire,” Parker told The Undefeated. “I decided that I’m not going to play basketball anymore.”

“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker said. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”

Parker is a lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili formed the core of the Spurs’ dynasty. They won four championships together, Parker winning 2007 NBA Finals MVP. Parker received an MVP vote in seven different seasons, peaking at fifth place in 2012. He made three All-NBA second teams and an All-NBA third team and six All-Star teams. It’s a heck of a resumé.

Parker sometimes caused issues with teammates, most recently Kawhi Leonard. But Parker provided steady production for a championship contender for more than a decade. That will be his legacy.

Though Parker spoke of playing 20 seasons, he finishes with 18. That’s nothing for him to hang his head about. The 37-year-old lasted far longer than most and had a storied career.

Parker’s $5.25 million salary for next season is unguaranteed. The Hornets will surely waive him. Parker previously said he’d retire with the Spurs. He could sign an unguaranteed deal with them just to get waived again, the technical process behind a sentimental move.

No matter how Parker ties this up, he’ll be remembered for his time in San Antonio – as a winner, as a pioneering European guard and as an all-time great player.

Tony Parker on retiring this summer: ‘It’s 50-50. I haven’t made my decision yet.’

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Tony Parker can still play the game at a high level. Last season, coming off the bench for the Hornets for 56 games, he averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists, giving Kemba Walker some needed rest.

The question for Parker, at age 36, is does he want to go through what it takes to get his body right for another season? Parker is not sure. Here is what he said on the French television broadcast “C’a Vous”, via BeBasket, with a hat tip to EuroHoops:

“It’s 50-50. I haven’t made my decision yet. I told the club that I will give them an answer in June. I really hesitate. I have nothing to prove. I want to spend time with my family. And there’s another part of me that wants to make one last season. There will be an NBA game in France, in Paris. It will be a beautiful event.”

The Charlotte Hornets will play the Milwaukee Bucks in Paris on Jan. 20. For these international games (preseason or regular season) the NBA tries to send teams with players from the host nation. The Hornets are going because Parker and Nicolas Batum are on the roster.

Whenever Parker does retire, his next stop will be the Hall of Fame. He is a four-time NBA champion as part of the Spurs dynasty, a Finals MVP from 2007, a four-time All-NBA player and a six-time All-Star. Internationally, he led France to a EuroBasket title in 2013, the first ever for the nation, and Parker was named MVP of that tournament.

Derrick White scores 36 points as Spurs take 2-1 lead vs. Nuggets

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SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio point guard Derrick White was screaming, flexing and stomping around the court after almost every basket against Denver.

It was completely out of character for White, but the mild-mannered point guard has never been in this situation before.

White had a career-high 36 points and the Spurs beat the Nuggets 118-108 on Thursday night, withstanding a first-half lapse to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

“I just had a chip on my shoulder,” White said. “This is the way I’ve played since I was young. Just try to go out there, compete and have fun.”

Nikola Jokic had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Denver.

Game 4 is Saturday in San Antonio, where the Spurs are 3-0 against the Nuggets this season.

White attacked Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray from the opening tip after being on the receiving end of Murray’s career outing Tuesday night. Murray had only six points, a game after scoring 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to help Denver overcome a 19-point deficit to even the series.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Derrick White, the last couple of days, has been reminded about Jamal Murray’s fourth-quarter performance,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Derrick White came out like he hadn’t eaten in two days. He came out hungry, he came out (ticked) off and he sent a very loud and clear message. I’m anxious to see our guys, how do we respond to that.”

White set his career high after being fouled by Paul Millsap on a driving layup that bounced off the side of the rim, hit the backboard and fell in to give the Spurs a 99-89 lead with 8:52 remaining. White added five rebounds, five assists and three steals while shooting 12 for 17. The point guard matched his overall career high with 26 points in the first half.

DeMar DeRozan took over after that, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Rudy Gay had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Spurs finished with 62 points in the paint and had a 45-37 rebound advantage.

“They are doing a good job of attacking the paint,” Jokic said. “They were living in our paint. I think it’s not just smalls, it’s our bigs, too. I think we all need to be more disciplined and more focused.”

White had 10 points in the opening quarter while primarily being defended by Murray.

“He was obviously spectacular,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I don’t know what else to say. At both ends of the floor.”

Denver’s second unit dominated, turning a 31-22 deficit after the first quarter into a 38-31 advantage early in the second quarter. The Nuggets opened the second quarter shooting 7 for 8, including a pair of 3-pointers by Malik Beasley. San Antonio’s first points came on Jakob Poeltl‘s two free throws with 8:41 left.

Beasley finished with 20 points, and Gary Harris added 12 points.

Harris stole the ball from Gay at midcourt and then calmly drained a 3-pointer before the Spurs’ defense could set for a 50-40 lead. San Antonio then went on a 21-8 run to close the half and recapture a lead it would not relinquish.

“We got our (butts) kicked because we couldn’t guard anybody,” Malone said.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Denver is the eighth youngest team in playoff history. . Jokic is averaging 11.7 rebounds and 9.7 assists the series. … Isaiah Thomas was eligible to play but did not. … Millsap picked up his third foul with 2:12 remaining in the first half after bumping Aldridge near the 3-pointer. Millsap threw his hands up in frustration as he exited. He finished with five fouls.

Spurs: The Spurs are 22-7 against the Nuggets in the postseason, including 13-3 at home. … White’s previous career highs were 26 points in the regular season against Brooklyn on Jan. 31 and 17 against Denver in Game 2. … Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are the only players to score more points in any half for the Spurs in the postseason than White’s 26 points in the first half.

MINDSET?

Popovich was bemused when asked what the Spurs’ mindset is after earning a split on the road.

“What’s their mindset,” Popovich asked. “I didn’t give any psychological tests today or anything. It’s their job, they are going to come play, so will the Nuggets. They are going to try to win. Nuggets are going to try to win. It’s a competitive sport, that’s the mindset. It’s not too difficult to imagine.”

EXPERIENCED

White made his first postseason start in Game 1 at Denver, but he joked that he has plenty of playoff experience.

“Everybody said I didn’t have playoff experience, but I did this in the G League,” White said. “Just kidding. But it was big for my development.”

UP NEXT

Game 4 is Saturday in San Antonio.

Gregg Popovich on Spurs drafting Derrick White: ‘Never even knew he existed in the world. Didn’t know he was on the planet’

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Under president-coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have drafted legendarily well. Manu Ginobili (No. 57 in 1999), Tony Parker (No. 28 in 2001), Kawhi Leonard (No. 15 in 2011) stand out amid a long list of quality selections.

But maybe don’t give Popovich too much credit for Derrick White, the No. 29 pick in the 2017 draft.

Popovich, via ESPN:

I never even saw him, never even knew he existed in the world. Didn’t know he was on the planet.

I’m busy. I’ve got other stuff to do. I can’t watch this guy. I don’t know who these guys are. I’m at dinner. I’m ordering wine. I’m relaxing. They’ve got to find the talent, right? I’ve got to teach back-door, and I’ve got to find the talent?

Popovich is obviously joking about being too busy eating and drinking (though wine is actually quite important to Popovich). But not scouting White at all? I wonder how serious that is.

Though Popovich has the title and salary of a team president, he has empowered general manager R.C. Buford. It’s to the point people forget about Popovich when explaining why president-coaches “always” fail.

A big drawback of someone holding the dual title: It’s too much work for one person. However involved Popovich is in roster-building, he and Buford have clearly struck a productive balance.

White ascended to starting point guard after Dejounte Murray‘s season-ending injury and played well this season. White is a high-level defensive guard, and he showed his athleticism in Game 1 against the Nuggets:

San Antonio did well to identify and draft White, who began his college career at Division-II Colorado–Colorado Springs then transferred to Colorado for his senior year. White has also developed impressively while with the Spurs. At minimum, Popovich had a hand in that development.

But if drafting White were completely up to Buford, still give Popovich some credit for trusting the general manager. Popovich is in charge. Knowing how to delegate is part of good leadership.

Tony Parker’s playoff streak ends at 17 years, third-longest in NBA history

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When the Spurs drafted him out of France in 2001, Tony Parker was still a novelty. Gregg Popovich summarized the concern: “Everybody knows you don’t get point guards from Europe, because they’re generally not quick enough and they don’t have a grasp of the NBA game.”

Now, Parker is one of the standard-bearers for having a grasp of the NBA game. He became the starting point guard on a playoff team as a teenage rookie, and he has sustained his success nearly two decades.

That’s part of the reason the Hornets signed him last summer. Unfortunately for Parker, that move will also end his playoff streak.

After reaching the postseason all 17 of his seasons with San Antonio, Parker will fall short with Charlotte, which was eliminated from the playoff race yesterday.

Only Karl Malone and John Stockton (19 seasons each) have longer postseason streaks. Parker is tied with Jason Kidd at 17.

Here are the longest playoff streaks of all-time:

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With LeBron James‘ Lakers also missing the playoffs and ending his 13-year postseason streak, Parker’s exclusion puts 76ers guard J.J. Redick in line to take over the longest active playoff streak. Redick has played in the last 12 postseasons.

Here are the longest active playoff streaks among players on teams headed to the 2019 postseason. Players are listed with the teams they made the postseason with during their streaks. If they haven’t reached the playoffs in their stint with their current team, that team is listed in brackets:

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Correction: Patty Mills was added to the above graphic.

Meanwhile, the Spurs are still humming.