Top Stories

San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker thriving in new role as backup point guard

From NBA media reports

Tony Parker had been the San Antonio Spurs’ starting point guard for 16 years, but it hasn’t taken him long to adjust to coming off the bench. In 12 games since yielding the starting job to Dejounte Murray, the 35-year-old Parker has shot better and averaged more points (9.8) than he did in 21 games as a starter this season (8.0).

With the Spurs set to visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC), Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News spoke with Parker, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and Manu Ginobili about the adjustment

“Tony has handled it fantastically well,” Popovich said. “He’s been a really mature, high-character guy. He understands what’s best for a basketball team.”

In that, Parker has a reference in the 40-year-old Ginobili.

Even in his prime, when he was good enough to start for any team on Earth, Ginobili was often a catalyst of the Spurs’ second unit. He earned the 2008 Sixth Man of the Year award for his sacrifice.

When Popovich approached the NBA’s oldest starting point guard last month about making a similar job change, Parker’s first step was to talk to Ginobili.

Ginobili’s advice? Just go with it.

“If you take going to the bench as a demotion or something that’s terrible, you start with a bad attitude,” Ginobili said. “He’s a 35-year-old point guard. There are not many in the league. We have to be proud of what we’ve accomplished and what we’re accomplishing, still in the NBA at this age and being productive and helpful.”


NBA Logo

Want every headline right at your fingertips? Sign up to receive NBA emails!

By clicking "Submit", you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. You agree that your personal information will be used to send you messages about NBA related products and services, and share your personal information with NBA partners and affiliates so that they can also contact you about products and services that might be of interest to you.