Once upon a time, Anthony Parker was, as I understand, perhaps the best player in the history of Israeli basketball. He was like Kobe Bryant — he could shoot from anywhere, make plays when he needed to, and fill up the scoreboard while demoralizing his opponents.
When Parker returned to North America with the Raptors, he was a prototypical “3-and-D” player — he played great man-to-man defense and knocked down open threes on offense, particularly from the corners, which Toronto fans began referring to as “Parkerville.”
In 2009-10, AP was brought in to be a role player next to LeBron, and he did a decent enough job, although he could never defend or put pressure on defenses the way a 100% Delonte did in 2008-09.
In 2009-10, AP was in a situation he wasn’t supposed to be in, and he knew it. Parker’s defense is still decent, but it’s anything but game-changing, and he wasn’t able to save the Cavs’ abysmal defense. The Cavs didn’t have enough quality playmakers to open him up for threes, which meant he had to try and find his “Michael Jordan of Isreal” form, and the results weren’t pretty. You could see flashes of the player he used to be — the smooth jumpers off of pin-downs, the surprisingly good playmaking, the smooth footwork on offense. However, at 36, AP showed that he isn’t a starting-quality two-guard anymore, and would be a fringe rotation player at best on a contender. By the way, Anthony Parker played the 3rd-most minutes of any Cavalier last season.
Early in the season, Parker made his threes, but was way outmatched whenever he stepped inside the arc. Parker’s best moments of the season came in February, which could be described as a “please, for the love of all that is holy, trade me to a decent team for one more shot at a ring” stretch of basketball. In February, Parker averaged a season-high 11.7 points per game on 50% shooting from the field and 47.4% from beyond the arc, and the Bulls were starting Keith Bogans at shooting guard. Ultimately, though, nobody had any real interest in AP, and that seemed to take a lot of the wind out of his sails.
In March, Parker averaged 7.5 points on 39% shooting overall and 35% from beyond the arc, with the only real bright spot being a 20 point-performance against the Heat that AP recorded while only taking nine shots. I think motivation was an issue for Parker last season.
Parker won’t be back for the 2011-12 season — the Cavs have Casspi wearing chai next season, and the backcourt that finishes games will be Irving/Baron anyways. Hopefully Parker finds a contender that can find a use for him as a 7th-9th option next season, because he can still contribute with his shot and his smarts and he deserves some more NBA success before he calls it a career.
2010-11 Grade: C minus
Outlook for 2011-12: He’s gone.