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Tony Parker Dropped to the Bench

San Antonio Spurs veteran point guard Tony Parker has been demoted to the bench for the first time.

Parker (35) came off the bench in Spurs’ 94 – 86 defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. The last time Tony Parker came off the bench was in 2010, against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs. It was the 21st time in a 17 year career that he came off the bench. He was replaced by second year Dejounte Murray.

Six time All-Star Parker scored 12 points and also made 5 assists in 20 minutes off the bench on Sunday. However, he is a player considered to be declining, due to his recent injury struggles.

He made a comeback from 7 months out injured against the Dallas Mavericks on November 27. In 21 games this season, he is averaging 8 points and 4 assists. These figures would be career lows over a full season.

However, he did score his 500th career three pointer. He now has 500 career 3 pointers along with 18,000 + points and 6,500 + assists. He is the 4th NBA player to do so, along with LeBron James, Gary Payton and John Stockton.

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Tony Parker was also a member of 4 of the five Popovich championship winning teams. In 2007, he was also named the NBA finals MVP.

On being benched, Parker spoke in support of his coaches decision. Via ESPN, he said:

“Just like Manu [Ginobili], just like Pau [Gasol], that day’s going to come. And if Pop sees something that is good for the team, I’ll try to do my best. I support Pop’s decision, and I’ll try to help [Dejounte Murray] out as best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills].”

“I’m still planning on being very productive. I think I showed it tonight,” Parker said. “I’ll try to be productive, come in and run the team with whoever’s in the second unit and try to be the best I can.”

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