Heat — Spurs: Mario Chalmers vs. Tony Parker

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A large part of this series will be determined by how these two teams match up.  Who guards LeBron?  How will Chris Bosh deal with Tim Duncan (aka the “Big Fundamental”)?  And can Dwyane Wade really be an effective shooting guard?

Before I get to those matchups (in subsequent posts), I want to start with the point guard position.

Point guard, is probably the one position that San Antonio has, far and away, the biggest advantage.  It’s not even close.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, but Tony Parker is probably the best guard in the NBA at finishing at the rim.  He probably can’t dunk — I mean, at 6′ 1” and 31 years old Tony Parker probably has trouble jumping over a phone book.  But, man, can he finish at the rim.  Part of it is his array of moves: spin moves (one of the best spin moves in the game), euro-steps (learned a little from Manu), the “pump-fake his patent elbow jumper and then drive by his defender” moves.  And part of it is his creativity and his understanding of how to finish.  What I mean is that when Tony Parker does his spin move/euro-step/pump-and-drive and he’s at the rim, he can hit the floater, or maybe he’ll bank it off the glass, or maybe he’ll fake with one hand and finish with the other, or maybe he’ll scoop the shot from an almost impossible sideways angle…but with juuuussstttt enough english for it to drop into the hoop.

And I haven’t even talked about his passing yet (one of the best passing-in-mid-air guards in the league).

(If you are a basketball fan — hell, if you’re a fan of excellence, you need to watch this video.  In the first minute you see Parker’s spin move, his ability to hit clutch shots, his ability to hit his elbow jumper, his ability to take contact in the paint and finish, and his craftiness (I hate using that word (like what the eff is “craftiness”?) but there’s no other word to use.  Maybe cunning?) close to the basket.)

Comparing Tony Parker and Mario Chalmers is like comparing Usain Bolt to a good high school sprinter.  Or like comparing Peyton Manning to Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Or Michael Jordan to anybody.

It’s just an awkward comparison.  It’s like, “Yeah, you’re alright, but you’re not Usain Bolt/Peyton Manning/Michael Jordan.  You’re just alright.”

Yes, Mario Chalmers shot 40.9% from three point range this year (which is pretty impressive considering that Ray Allen shot 41.9% from three this year).  Yes, Mario Chalmers has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.33 (not too shabby).  Yes, Mario Chalmers averaged 11 points in 27 minutes of play in the Indiana Pacers series (and at times, looked like the second-best player on the court).

But Mario Chalmers is not Tony Parker.

He’s just alright.

And that’s alright.

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