Tony Parker really has nothing left to prove in his NBA career. He's won multiple championships, been named Finals MVP, made several All-Star games and All-NBA teams, yet something tells me this trip to the Finals may be the sweetest of all.
I was on the TP for MVP bandwagon big time last season. I wrote about him taking the reins from Tim Duncan and becoming the main cog in the Spurs machine, then saw him fall apart in the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder.
It was most likely the emotion of the time, but several Spurs fans and one dumb blogger (me) thought it would be best to part ways with Parker and see what you could get for him in a trade.
Fast-forward to Monday night and Parker decimating the NBA's best defense. You can't say enough about what Parker has done in these playoffs, but let's put it in this historical perspective.
Tony Parker is currently on a list of five, yes five, all time NBA players to average a stat line of: 23 PPG, 7 APG, 1 SPG, while shooting 47 percent overall and 37 percent from 3-point range through 10 playoff games. The other four are Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James and Gary Payton. That's insane.
It's not just the stats, but the moments that have made Parker's postseason run memorable.
My biggest criticism of Parker during last year's West finals stemmed from the fact that when OKC's ex-big three played like superstars, Parker was nowhere to be found. It's been the opposite this season.
Some of his best performances have come at crucial times. 28 points in a double OT win over Golden State in Game 1. 32 points in Game 3 on the road in Oakland, and 25 points and 10 assists in a critical Game 5 win against those same Warriors.
His 18 assists in Game 2 against the Grizzlies was a career playoff high. His two road games in Memphis were so dominant, Mike Conley and Tony Allen's ankles still haven't recovered.
It's been an impressive turnaround for a player who already has several accolades, but hit a brick wall last season.
After last season's melt down, Parker reportedly vowed to Tim Duncan that he would get him back to the NBA Finals. That's the type of promise NBA superstars make.
The Spurs are now truly Parker's team, and the pressure is on him to get San Antonio their fifth ring. It appears he's stepped up to the challenge this time around.