It’s important to preface this entire column by saying I have no idea how bad Tony Parker’s eye injury is. None of us will know until at least July 5 when Parker flies to New York and meets with an eye specialist.
I’m also one of the Spurs fans who isn’t that worried about Parker’s eye. I feel like he got lucky that he went to the emergency when he did (though he should’ve gone straight there). I also feel like when he gets cleared by that eye specialist that he’s going to hate wearing protective goggles.
None of us have any idea if he’s OK, but we’ll start to get a better idea of how worried the Spurs may or may not be starting with tomorrow night’s NBA draft.
Aside from a handful of second round workouts, we haven’t heard a peep about any draft night plans the Spurs have. And why would we? Last season we didn’t hear about the Kawhi Leonard trade until after Indiana drafted him. We knew they were interested in Davis Bertans, but didn’t know if they’d draft him in the first round or the second round.
We hadn’t even heard Cory Joseph’s name until they drafted him. Two years ago, James Anderson had to shut down his workouts because of an injury so we weren’t sure if they’d grab him. So yeah, there’s a really good chance we’re not going to hear anything until it happens.
Having said that, if they make a move we’ll know pretty quickly whether it’s a Parker-related move.
Let’s assume they build a package around Tiago Splitter. It’s my belief that depending on the team, the Spurs could use a Splitter-centered package and get anywhere in between picks 10 and 16 (not to say that’d they’d be interested in trading Splitter for a late lottery draft pick or lower).
That would mean they could draft an athletic big guy like Terrence Jones, Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller, Perry Jones III or Arnett Moultrie. If the Spurs were to trade Splitter for one these more explosive big guys, we could deduce that Tony Parker’s eye is probably in OK shape.
However, let’s say San Antonio trades into the 10-16 range and drafts someone in the Dion Waiters, Damion Lillard, Austin Rivers, Kendall Marshall group. We could assume that they’re as worried about Parker as some Spurs fans are.
It could also mean that they didn’t have enough guys that could create off the dribble and this is the cheapest and most effective way to do it. Waiters, Rivers and Lillard are all in the Tony Parker mold and presumably could help fill a Parker void quickly (I’d be stunned if Lillard is still available at 10).
We all know the Spurs need help inside as much as anywhere else, so why would they trade in to a lottery that is deep at the power forward/center position and draft a guard instead if they aren’t worried about Parker’s health?
The NBA Draft is my favorite non-game night of the year, whether the Spurs have a first round pick or not. I love the trades. I love when teams make wild card picks. I love Darth Stern making the announcement and having to look all the way up at the power forwards and centers during the hand shake.
There’s this sense of hope and opportunity about the NBA Draft that you don’t see many other nights in sports. However, Thursday night will come with some extra intrigue.
Will the Spurs make a move? If they do will it be a small move? Will it be another game changer like the Kawhi trade? Will it involve Tony Parker’s protege/replacement or will it involve a big man that can protect the rim with or without Tim Duncan in the game?
We’ll find out Thursday night, but don’t expect to hear anything before that. We’re still talking about the Spurs, after all.