Tony Parker averaged 33 minutes per game last season, then 36 minutes per game in the playoffs all the way through the Finals. He took a month off, then started with the French national team for Eurobasket. This is the Spurs' best player, their MVP. Turns out that the Spurs, while supportive, kind of would like to see Parker peel back a bit. Spurs GM R.C. Buford apparently talked to Parker about trying to take some miles off.
"I saw R.C.," Parker said. "He wants me to play less minutes to be ready for the Spurs next season. But I have a great relationship with the Spurs. I'm very lucky to have R.C. and Coach Pop to let me play for my country. They know that I love playing for my country.
"I take a lot of pride playing for France. I'm just happy that I have the Spurs organization to let me do that."
In other words, I'm doing this, thanks for asking.
This is going to continue to be more and more of a problem in the future. Parker has played basketball at a competitive level for 11 of the past 12 months, consistently in games. It's one thing to do Pro Am appearances or the occasional heavy practice or workout. These are full-contact games where he's playing 30 minutes or more.
We've seen this impact players before.
Maybe it will be fine, hopefully it will be fine, it should be fine. But if you thought the Spurs rested players last season, what happens coming off a playoff trip that extended to mid-June?