The matchup for tonight's game will be between Tony Parker and Mike Conley when the San Antonio Spurs open their season at the AT&T Center against the Memphis Grizzlies.
San Antonio is coming off from a disappointing postseason end in the NBA Finals and it might mean Parker and crew are coming into this season with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove to the league. Both teams' cores have stayed the same while adding a few new pieces, especially the Spurs.
That may effect the matchups tonight as both teams play with a team oriented style.
What Parker must do on offense:
Parker played at an MVP level with his aggressiveness in the paint and shot making ability (20ppg, 52% FG) last season. Look for him to play like the Parker we've known, except with a little more freedom. With the addition of Marco Belinelli, look for Parker to have more reliable shooters wide open off the pick and roll. He'll also get plenty of looks off the ball with more ball handlers on the floor this season with the former Chicago Bull being able to play the point guard capacity.
He'll also see more wide open looks to improve his 35% 3FG rating from last season with a more balanced team on the floor. The Grizzlies' big men are physical, but also more of the traditional slower breed of NBA big men. This will help Parker's offense off screens, pick and rolls, and on switches during the game.
If Parker can get into some sort of rhythm on offense by being in motion, he'll likely confuse the defense with his speed and quickness. That will also open up a lot of back door passes that are famous by Tm Duncan on the perimeter.
What Parker must do on defense:
Memphis isn't much of a running team and their offense is predictable most of the times with their players showing their worth by still scoring on plays. Conley is becoming more of a complete player as he matures in the league, but there will still be places where the Spurs can force Conley to beat them with his weaknesses.
Conley's 3-point shooting is still at an unimpressive 36% from last season and might not improve much on a team with guys who prefer to create for themselves on offense or are spot up shooters. If Parker can force long shots from Conley, it will take away the big men from getting into any rhythm and also take Conley out of his at the same time.
We may see Coach Gregg Popovich also put different defenders on Conley besides Parker, especially if Memphis decides to go with a two point guard backcourt for stretches on the game, but this shouldn't effect Conley's inside game as the Spurs will likely look to clog the paint against Conley and the other guards.