Mike Ulmer Goes One-on-One With Anthony Parker

by Mike Ulmer
November 3, 2008

Anthony Parker has a heck of a life.

Every night, he matches up against the oppositions top swingman. Sometimes, if his man scores 20 and if Parker chips in a dozen, hes had a good night. If Anthony Parker works his player for a draw, the Raptors will likely win.

Raptors.com's Mike Ulmer talked to the Raptors swingman about which NBA player is toughest to guard and how to acquire the mindset to be a neutralizer.

Ulmer: How do you deal with the challenge of your position? Youre averaging about 14 points a night and guarding the some of the best players in the NBA?
Parker: Its an odd situation. If Kobe scores 35, people just shrug and say whats new? But if you hold Kobe to 22 and he takes a lot of shots, then guys say you did a good job. To me, its definitely a tough position but the bright side is its easy to get into the game and be sharp mentally.

Ulmer: How do you not let your defensive responsibilities affect your offence?
Parker: I look at the two, offence and defence, as completely different things. Defensively, you can always bring that energy, although some days are better than others. Offence, sometimes the shot goes in, sometimes it doesnt. Sometimes you get more shots, sometimes you dont. I dont let the defence affect the offence or the offence affect the defence.

Ulmer: You are the son of a coach. Is that where you absorbed that lesson?
Parker: It really sank in for me, more so in college (Bradley) than in high school. High school you can cut corners, college, your coach holds you accountable. Im not one of those freak of nature athletic guys who could coast and get by. I had to bring it every night and not cut corners.

Ulmer: Can you equate your position to that of a cornerback who knows offences are constructed to negate him? Every once in a while, the offence is occasionally going to win.
Parker: Its mental preparation offensively and defensively. Teams run a lot of plays over and over again and once you see the play, you should know how to guard it.

Ulmer: How do you do that?
Parker: I have to do work early before my guy catches the ball. If the guys Im guarding catch the ball where they want to catch the ball, Im in trouble. I want to take people out of their comfort levels. If they want to come down off the down screen I get right top of it and disrupt it. Little things. You have to have every advantage you can. Offensively, you have to use your mind to find a rhythm and establish a level of confidence.

Ulmer: Who are the toughest players to guard and why?
Parker: I put them in groups, Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, Carmelo, Tracy McGrady. Those are guys you have to respect every move they make. There are certain guys if they go out 20-feet and pump fake, you say to yourself Im not going for that. If that goes in, fine. I can live with that. There are other guys you want them to put it on the floor. But the guys I mentioned, you have to respect every jab step, every pump fake. They are really hard to guard.