A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Decline watch: Tony Parker and Tyson Chandler are hearing footsteps

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עברית: טוני פארקר, שזכה בפרס בשנת 2007. Hrvats...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tyson Chandler and Tony Parker both had incredible seasons last year. Chandler helped lead an elite Knicks offense by setting the all time individual ORTG mark with 133 and anchoring the team’s defense and rebounding. Tony Parker was the Spurs clear-cut star for the 2nd straight season, leading the team in scoring, assists per game and having his most efficient season. They were two of the league’s true stars.

They’re also 1 and 2 on my “decline watch” list for this season. Why? Consider that they’re from the 2001 draft, thus are entering their 13th season in the league. A 13th season is late as it gets for an NBA player’s primes – only rare cases like 1998 Karl Malone, 2011 Dirk Nowitzki, 2009 Kobe Bryant have neared statistical peak that late. For players who are less than MVP talents, it’s even more rare.

Furthermore, let’s look at other players from the 2001 draft. Here are the top 10 players in career WS from the draft, who aren’t Parker or Chandler: Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Richard Jefferson, Joe Johnson, Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace, Mehmet Okur, Gilbert Arenas, Troy Murphy. The group varies from recently past their prime, to totally washed up, but none were in their prime like Chandler and Parker. Even more jarring, here’s the top 10 in career WS from the 2002 draft: Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Yao Ming, Tayshaun Prince, Nene, Caron Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Drew Gooden, Luis Scola, John Salmons. Not only were 2012-2013 Parker and Chandler big enough exceptions to outlast their own draft class, but nobody’s in their prime in the next draft class either, despite a year less of experience.

In Chandler’s case, averaging 28.5 minutes per game and missing the equivalent of multiple seasons to injury, helps explain his longevity. Parker’s is incredibly impressive considering he’s played 173 playoff games in addition to his regular season miles. For both it’s a testament to their basketball IQ and work ethic they maintain this effective. But it’s more likely that their time will finally come this year, rather than be an exception one more year compared to their peers.

And of course the impact of this would be significant for the league. Parker led the team that came within a shot or rebound of the title this year, if a step less effective, they’d need a huge leap forward by Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter to make up for it. The Knicks are unlikely to complete with the Heat, Nets, Pacers and Bulls is Chandler isn’t at his best. The franchise is simply in a dangerous position. Their 2 stars Carmelo Anthony and Chandler are headed into their 11th and 13th seasons, making both threats to pass their prime at any moment. Anthony is a free agent after this offseason. Whether it’s even a good idea to pay him a huge contract after playing 11 seasons is as big a question, as whether he’ll want to stay if he sees Chandler’s time as a star is limited. They owe multiple future 1sts and have little young infrastructure other than Iman Shumpert. Sorry Spike and Woody, but things aren’t looking good.


Written by jr.

October 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

2 Responses

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  1. good article. the only counter i would say is that these guys are younger than most of the others in their draft class and even the next one. so that might be significant.

    and not to nitpick, but steve kerr has the all time individual ORtg crown of 141.


    October 6, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    • Yea I went by basketball-reference’s list, they must have Kerr as not qualifying due to number of possessions


      October 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

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