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Hornets player review: Tony Parker

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Tony Parker showed flashes of his Spurs brilliance and signs of the complete opposite during his first season in Charlotte.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Charlotte Hornets went to the playoffs, Jeremy Lin was the backup point guard to Kemba Walker. The Hornets have missed the playoffs in every season since 2016 with some of the worst backup point guards in NBA history. Veteran point guard after veteran point tried their best to help spark the Hornets second unit. However, each of these point guards weren’t good in the Queen City, to put it nicely.

Brian Roberts and Ramon Sessions were easily the two worst players on the Hornets during the 2016-17 season. The team tried (and failed miserably) to make amends the next season by signing Michael Carter-Williams. The one thing they had in common was that if the Hornets had a lead at the end of the first quarter, it would be gone as soon as Kemba sat on the bench.

For the 2018-19 season, the Hornets turned to a future Hall of Fame point guard that made his name as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. Tony Parker’s task was to keep the second unit steady and at times, he certainly did that. He made a lot of big shots and passes throughout the season, but there were many times where he wasn’t a factor. At his age, it’s not surprising that Tony Parker missed a lot of games and that led to more minutes for rookie Devonte’ Graham.

The Hornets went 9-17 when Tony Parker was out and 30-26 when he played. However, Parker missed the last 13 games of the season and Charlotte went 8-5 in those games. It was surreal to see a San Antonio Spurs legend play in a different jersey for a season. Parker has a non-guaranteed second year on his contract meaning. That money is fully guaranteed if he doesn’t get waived by July 3rd, so Mitch Kupchak and Michael Jordan have a decision to make on retaining him.

If the Hornets can find an upgrade from Tony Parker in the NBA Draft or in free agency, that would be essential especially if Kemba Walker decides to leave. This isn’t a knock on Parker because he was a significantly better backup point guard than Roberts, Sessions, and Carter-Williams. Surely, a soon-to-be 37-year-old point guard would like to play on a playoff team next season or consider retirement. If one thing is for certain, Tony Parker was the best French basketball player on the team in 2018-19.