Editor’s note: This was a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter at @NBAFantasyInfo, and for more information on the NBA visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – your online source for anything about fantasy basketball.
Gregg Popovich just recently announced that his superstar point guard Tony Parker will miss some time due to multiple injuries. As the Head Coach of the San Antonio Spurs stated, Parker will be out for the “foreseeable future.” After playing only 11 minutes during the All-Star Game, Parker sat out during the Spurs’ Tuesday night victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. So now that Parker will stay out of action, what changes can we expect in the tough Western Conference?
First of all the San Antonio Spurs, who currently rank second in the Western Conference, will miss their leading scorer and assist-man. But Tony Parker’s impact on the team goes above and beyond numbers and stats. He is the type of player that completely changes the way the Spurs perform. With him on the court, San Antonio opens its offensive flow. Tony Parker draws much defensive attention, sometimes forcing a second or even a third defender’s attention. This allows the rest of the team to see more open looks. Parker is one of the reasons the Spurs are deadly from beyond the arc, as not only he draws defenders, but he also is a terrific passer. He can find the open man even when he is under pressure.
Now that he will be out, Patty Mills will have to take over. Of course, Mills is a serviceable point guard. He is averaging 9.7 points and 1.7 assists in 17.9 minutes per game up to now this season. Nonetheless, his skillset is nowhere close to Tony Parker’s.
The Spurs won this tough game versus the Clippers Tuesday night. However, we should expect them to lose a significant amount of their firepower. San Antonio does have a 2.5 game cushion from the third-seeded Houston Rockets. That being said, the Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Clippers seem like hungry wolves waiting to bite the Spurs now that Parker will be out.
With Parker out for some weeks, maybe even a month, the Spurs can be expected to lose one or even two spots in the West. As a matter of fact, it should come as no surprise if we see the Spurs fall to the fifth seed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the San Antonio Spurs will be affected much come playoff time. The Western Conference is so strong this season that any one of the teams which rank fifth to eighth in the conference could post some real trouble to the top four teams. The first leg of the playoffs will be a really tough one, even for the No. 1 seeded team, which from as we can tell at the moment will be the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That’s why the changes we’ll see in the Western Conference due to Parker’s injury might be significant in terms of the Spurs’ seed, but it won’t have that much of a difference in the outcome of San Antonio’s course. The Spurs have proven that they can find success, even when they are considered underdogs.