Tony Parker recalls the moment where Tim Duncan raised concerns about the San Antonio Spurs drafting him in 2001.
The 2001 NBA Draft was a peculiar one. The number 1 overall pick was one of the biggest busts in NBA history in Kwame Brown, and a number of future All-Stars were drafted out side of the lottery.
One of these future All-Stars was French point guard, Tony Parker, who was selected 28th overall by the San Antonio Spurs.
Looking back at Parker’s career, it is stacked to the brim with accolades and achievements. He was a 6x All-Star, 4x NBA Champion, a Finals MVP, and made 4 All-NBA teams.
However, prior to entering the NBA, Parker wasn’t the most sought after prospect. With the Spurs having won the NBA title 2 years prior, and David Robinson in the tail-end of his career, they were looking to upgrade their roster.
Tim Duncan wasn’t too high on Tony Parker.
Tim Duncan had just won the Finals MVP in 1999 for the Spurs and had cemented himself as one of the best in the world. So it would make sense that he was allowed to give his opinion on certain players the Spurs selected.
Upon hearing the Spurs drafted French point Tony Parker, Duncan wasn’t having it. He said, “But why are we drafting a European point guard? We’ll never win a title with a European point guard.”
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 30, 2020
This quote was from Parker’s book, “Tony Parker: Beyond All My Dreams”.
The NBA 20 years ago was different to how it is now. European prospects were highly doubted as scouting wasn’t as efficient as it is now.
It all worked out in the end for Timmy and Tony.
Tony Parker had a doubter in Tim Duncan and ended up proving him wrong. Together, the Spurs alongside Manu Ginobilli, would win 4 more titles.
Players such as Tony Parker and Manu paved the way for Giannis, Luka, Kristaps, and others who were scouted out of Europe.