Tony Parker will look to have a bounce-back season with James Borrego and the Charlotte Hornets after coming off of a down year.
The Charlotte Hornets‘ search for a new backup point guard this summer ended when they signed future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tony Parker to a two-year, $10 million deal. They decided on TP over other guards like Isaiah Thomas and Shabazz Napier. Although Parker is past his prime, he still has a lot to offer to the right team.
Charlotte got one of the most accomplished point guards in modern NBA history when they signed Tony. Parker is a six-time all-star, he’s been named to an All-NBA team on four separate occasions, to the 2001-02 All-Rookie First Team, he’s won four NBA Championships, the 2001-02 Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award, and the 2007 Finals MVP. But at 36-years old, how much does he have left in the tank?
James Borrego has already revealed that Kemba Walker will play 33 to 34 minutes a night while Parker will take over the remaining backup point guard minutes which will be anywhere from 14-16 minutes per game. If that holds true, it will be the lowest MPG that Tony has averaged since entering the league in 2001.
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Tony Parker has a strong connection to new Hornets’ head coach James Borrego. The two worked together in San Antonio for a total of 10 seasons from 2003-10 and a second stint from 2015-18. Although Charlotte may not use the exact same system that Gregg Popovich has implemented with the Spurs, his familiarity with JB should have a positive impact.
Playing alongside fellow countryman Nicolas Batum should also help Parker this season. Tony has played with the French National Team since 2001 but didn’t start playing with Nic until 2009 when Batum made his Senior Team debut. They’ve appeared in over 30 international games together, appear to have a strong chemistry, and TP even called Nicolas his “little brother.”
Parker’s 2018-19 season with the Hornets will be his first as a primary backup. He’s been a starter since entering the NBA in 2001. Although he made the move to the bench for San Antonio last year, he still started in 21 of 55 games and wasn’t coming off of the bench until late-January. His role with the team was undefined all year as he missed the first 19 games of the season.
For Charlotte, Kemba Walker is the clear-cut starter. Tony’s role will be to provide a calming veteran presence to the second unit and be a floor general/playmaker for the team when Kemba isn’t on the floor which has been an issue for them over the past couple seasons. Borrego also mentioned that Parker would close some games alongside Kemba.
The 6’2 point guard chose the Hornets over the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs this offseason as he said: “I feel like the Hornets wanted me more.” This will be the first time in his career that he will be playing for someone other than the Spurs. That is important to note because it shows that he wants to be in the Queen City and help create something special with this franchise.
Parker wanted a new challenge and wants to keep his playoff streak going. Tony has never missed the postseason in his entire career and wants to help James Borrego establish a winning culture in Charlotte. (CharlotteObserver.com) The Hornets have only made the playoffs three times in the last 14 seasons so getting them to the postseason will be quite the challenge and accomplishment.
Considering they haven’t made it past the first round since the 2001-02 season (when Parker was a rookie), it would prove to be an even bigger accomplishment if they actually won a playoff series.
Even at this stage of his career, Tony can be an effective playmaker. James Borrego should be able to correctly manage Parker and get the most out of him at least for one season. A lot will depend on if he can remain healthy for the entire year but the risk is worth the reward for the Charlotte Hornets.