|Tony Parker became the Spurs' all-time assists leader Saturday. (Getty Images)|
Tony Parker passed Avery Johnson Saturday night for all-time Spurs assist leader during San Antonio's 107-96 win over the Thunder. Parker tallied 9 assists to pass Johnson's total and take the new top spot with 4,477.
For reference, Parker is the Spurs' all-time assist leader, and currently 72nd all-time in the NBA. So not exactly a lot of passing going on by the top guards in San Antonio over the years. But it does put one more mark on Parker's stellar career.
In a lot of ways, Parker was the first point guard of the modern era (turn of the century on) as a scoring point guard. He and Chauncey Billups were built of the same mold, but Billups was much more of a fill-in-the-gaps scorer versus Parker who was so much an individual creator. While certainly not the first scoring point (Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson), Parker did set the path for players like Russell Westbrook and even Derrick Rose as dynamic scorers.
Speaking of, while dropping those nine assists last night, Parker scored 42 points on 29 shots.
Parker's promience as a top point guard has faded in the past few years with the emergence of Chris Paul, Rose, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo, but his consistency and effectivenessfor a contending team for the past ten years is something that should be remembered. After the game, head coach Gregg Popovich was quick to compliment Parker's longevity in acquiring the record... in the usual Popovich way.
“He’s been here a long time,” Popovich said with a shrug and, if you looked closely enough, a smile. “He should have a lot of assists.”via Spurs Nation » Parker plunders Thunder.
Despite Pop's ribbing, Parker entered a toug situation under Popovich and flourished, becoming one of the decade's best players and a Finals MVP. There's no doubt he, along with Duncan and Manu Ginobili, will have his jersey in the rafters of San Antonio when he's through.