H: 6' 6"|
W: 215 lbs
(40 Years Old)
Current: SG |
High School: Naperville Central
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Drafted: Pick 21 in 1997 by Nets
Overview: A European basketball legend who returned to the NBA for a second try after some bad luck early in his career. Possesses prototypical size and length for an NBA shooting guard. Not an elite run and jump athlete, but has some nice tools. Deceptively quick, and very fluid with the ball in his hands. Not a great leaper, but can play above the rim from time to time. Not very explosive when he can’t gather himself and jump off of two feet. Plays with a ton of poise and possesses great fundamentals offensively. Feel for the game is off the charts. Pretty versatile player on both ends of the floor. Makes some plays defensively despite not having great lateral quickness anymore. Had a productive four year career at Bradley. Named Missouri Valley Conference Most Valuable Player in his third year. Seemed to peak as a junior, missing some games in his last season and not matching the production that put him on the NBA radar. Still managed to get picked late in the first-round. Was traded a number of times early in his career and missed a ton of time due to injuries. Found himself out of the NBA and in the CBA after his rookie deal expired. Went overseas to rebuild his career. Improved considerably thanks to his tremendous work ethic and the terrific situation he landed in. Won the SuproLeague with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2001 and the Euroleague in 2004 and 2005. Led Maccabi to consecutive domestic championships every year in Israel. Two time Euroleague Most Valuable Player. One of the most decorated players in European basketball history. Returned to the United States and quickly became one of the game’s most efficient players. Hasn’t been as brilliant in his third season back in the NBA, as his age may be catching up to him finally. Needs to play next to perimeter players who can create their own shot consistently, and unfortunately doesn’t have that luxury. Still one of the best American players to make the trip back from overseas. Great teammate and terrific overall intangibles. Brother of WNBA superstar Candace Parker.
Offense: A moderately productive veteran who is beginning to decline in terms of his ability to score inside the arc. Gets almost one-third of his looks as a spot up shooter with another significant portion of his offense coming off of the pick and roll. Doesn’t get as many clean looks as he did last year, handling the ball much more and struggling to maintain his consistency. Has a very sound shooting stroke. Fundamentals allow him to be effective and consistent from the inside and out. Tremendous midrange game. Has developed into a reliable three point shooting threat. Possesses some of the best perimeter footwork in the League. Does a very nice job staying active and making his man chase him around screens. Always gets to the open spot in transition. Good catch and shoot option. Capable of hitting shots off the dribble with consistency as well. More efficient when he only has to take one dribble to get space. Lacks the blow by quickness to be a highly effective shooter when he’s force to take a short-range jumper. Lack of elite quickness hurts his ability to create separation, but he is great at identifying opportunities to attack when his defender is off balance. Not a good finisher at the rim, and is proving to be a less consistent finisher recently than he has been in the past. Will get a lot of his drives cut off by defenders. Doesn’t take contact well and won’t go to the line at a high rate. A good player to have on the floor late in a close game due to his free throw shooting ability. Very fundamentally sound across the board. Not a playmaker, but a very smart passer. Seldom turns the ball over. Not a flashy player in the least, but the type of savvy veteran that will do what needs to be done to get the job done. Has been handling the ball more, decreasing his efficiency, but showing the versatility to run the point in limited minutes. Lack of finishing ability and shot-creators around him have hurt his once impressive efficiency numbers offensively.
Defense: Plays the tough, savvy brand of defense that one would expect from a seasoned veteran. Always gets in a good stance, won’t sell out on fakes, and won’t miss a rotation. Isn’t quick enough to consistently keep all of his match ups out of the lane, but does a great job of not giving up a drive straight to the rim. Shows active hands and good footwork defensive the perimeter. Always closes out low and under control, but isn’t always quick enough to deter perimeter shooters from hoisting shots. Gets a hand up to contest shots. Brings a lot to the table as a defender. Will get a few steals with his heady play. Always boxes out, even on the perimeter, allowing him to pull in quite a few mid-to-long rebounds. A very sound defensive player who is currently limited by his average quickness and leaping ability.
As exclusively reported by DraftExpress last week, American swingman Anthony Parker is indeed on the verge of leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv and signing with an NBA squad. We’ve since learned that the Toronto Raptors made the strongest pitch to Parker and will land his services for the next three years for approximately 12 million dollars. To make things work, the parties involved will be forced to buy out the last year of Parker’s contract with Maccabi, which will cost 1.5 million dollars. $500,000 will be contributed by Toronto, and the rest will be paid by Parker out of his NBA salary. The starting small forward spot for Toronto next to Morris Peterson will be Parker’s to lose in training camp.
One player that Maccabi Tel Aviv will not be losing is their starting center Nikola Vujcic. Media reports in the States have linked him to the San Antonio in the past few days, but what they are unaware of is the fact that Vujcic resigned with Maccabi this summer and has no out clause for the NBA. It’s widely accepted that his body is regardless not in optimal physical condition to play an 82-game season, which is why he was left off these overseas free agent reports.
Making this list for the third time in three years, there is very little doubt that Anthony Parker should have been back playing in the NBA a long time ago. He’s established himself as hands down the best player in the world outside of the NBA, winning the Euroleague MVP award in each of the past two seasons, and helping his team to the Euroleague Finals for three years straight, with two Euroleague championships coming in his first two trips.
For the first time in the three years we’ve been talking about him, though, there finally appears to be a legitimate chance that he’ll actually make the jump over from Europe this upcoming season. Sources on both sides of the ocean tell us that Parker is getting serious interest from a number of NBA teams and has already informed Maccabi Tel Aviv that he will not be playing for them next year, despite the fact that he has a contract with them for next season. In view of everything that he’s done for them over the past five years, it’s very hard to see them turning him down. Parker already has 4 concrete offers on the table, with the most serious interest coming from the Toronto Raptors, via former Benetton Treviso GM and current Raptors Assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini. The Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are also firmly in the picture from what we’ve been told, and there is apparently some rumbling coming out of Minnesota and Boston as well. A report on the Israeli Sports News Channel and website Sport 5 said that Parker is considering retiring, but from what we were told by sources in Israel as well as his American agent Henry Thomas, there is no truth to that. Thomas had nothing to say in regards to our inquiries about potentially playing in the NBA next season, besides mentioning via email that “he has no intentions to retire at this point…” and “yes, he would consider [playing in the NBA] next season.” Sources tell us that Parker is said to be looking for a Sarunas Jasikevicius type contract, somewhere in the 3-year, 10-12 million dollar range.
Considering his credentials, it’s not difficult to figure out why. But Parker has more than just a stellar resume--he also has a versatile skill-set and unique style that is tailor-made to the NBA game, and is considered one of the most complete swingman in the history of European basketball.
Parker played his college ball for Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference. He was drafted in the first round (#21) of the 1997 draft by the New Jersey Nets as a college senior and was immediately shipped out to Philadelphia in the first Keith Van Horn trade. He played two very non-descript seasons on his rookie contract battling injuries, and was traded to Orlando and waived soon after. He then joined Quad City in the CBA for the rest of the year and later left for Europe after failing to catch on with the Toronto Raptors in Summer league.
His first stop in Europe was with Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he stayed for two years, averaging around 14 points on good shooting and dishing out close to 5 assists in his second season. From there he went to Italy for a season to play for Roma, where he had a strong year with 14.5 points 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists. In the summer of 2003 he was again brought back to play for Maccabi, where he and his wife have always said they feel at home. He helped Maccabi win the Israeli championship and cup, and put on a breathtaking performance in the Euroleague Final Four, helping Maccabi win the championship and earning MVP honors for his efforts (24 points, 5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1 block per game).
The next season saw him repeat as Euroleague champion, and earned him his first regular season Euroleague MVP award after averaging 18 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2 steals per game on 56% shooting from the field and 48% from behind the arc. In the Israeli league his percentages jumped to 62.5% from the field and 56.5% from behind the arc. During the following summer, his team Maccabi Tel Aviv took a trip to the States to play two exhibitions against the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic. In Toronto Parker put on a show, scoring 24 points and hitting the game-winning basket with one second left on the clock.
This past season was a bit of a down year for Parker statistically, but was still good enough for him to be named Euroleague MVP for the second year in a row, as if to emphasize just how wide the gap is between him and the rest of the league. Maccabi Tel Aviv once again made the Finals of the Euroleague, but lost in heartbreaking fashion to CSKA Moscow behind a poor game from Parker. In the semifinals Parker put on one of the most exhilarating first half performances in the history of the Final Four, scoring 19 points to give Maccabi a 51-32 advantage at halftime and essentially finishing off the game before it ever really got started. Numerous NBA GMs were in the building at the time to watch future lottery pick Tiago Splitter, who ended up getting hurt early on, but came away buzzing from the incredible show that Parker had just put on for the executives in attendance. Its one thing to hear about how well the best player in Europe is performing year after year after year, but it’s another thing altogether to see him put together such a masterful performance right in front of their very eyes.
Despite his advanced age, Parker is still one of the best athletes in Europe. He is extremely quick and fluid, featuring an excellent vertical leap and an explosive first step. He has a number of gears he can go to and has the type of wiggle to his step that all great shot-creators need regardless of the league they play in. He regularly makes highlight caliber plays with his creative and acrobatic finishes that remind of Manu Ginobili at times, but have even more oomph to them with the way he gets out in the open court and just soars.
Parker’s bread and butter starts and ends with his outstanding mid-range game. He is a phenomenal ball-handler and is excellent and breaking his man down off the dribble before pulling up for a smooth mid-range jumper. He elevates high off the floor and shoots it with great mechanics, on very good percentages due to his highly efficient shot selection. Parker can also get to the basket and either finish emphatically, get to the free throw line or find the open man off the dribble spotting up on the wing. In transition is where he truly excels, as his superb instincts take over and his decision making is nearly flawless.
His ball-handling skills allow him to bring the ball up the floor and initiate the offensive smoothly as his team does not play with a traditional point guard. As you can tell by his assist numbers (just under four per game), he is an extremely unselfish player who possesses terrific court vision and knows how to find the open man.
Possibly the best thing about Parker is the fact that he makes everyone around him better at all times. Whether it’s with his passing, fundamental off the ball movement or the way he willingly sacrifices his numbers for the betterment of his team, nothing is more important to Parker than winning basketball games. He’s your rare athlete who not only possesses the physical attributes to separate himself from the pack, but also the mental fortitude and outstanding feel for the game to actually take advantage of his wonderful tools.
He’s also an excellent defender, using his quickness to stay in front of defenders and his length to come up with numerous steals and even the occasional block at times. His footwork is just as good here as it is on the offensive end, and his terrific understanding of where to place himself does the rest. Parker is not your traditional superstar in the sense that he has no problem whatsoever sticking his nose in to take a charge.
Parker does everything well, but nothing really outstanding, besides possibly winning. In the NBA he would probably be considered a 6th or 7th man depending on the situation, and when you a coach is reaching into his bench most of them really want to have one specific skill they know they can count on.
While he shot the ball very well from long range in 2004/2005 (55/104 or 50% in 51 games last year) he is not a volume shooter by any means (2 attempts per game) as he really only takes the open 3-pointers the opposition gives him. This past season his percentages dropped to 36% (45/125 in 54 games) on the year, partially due to nagging injuries. There were question marks about his long-range shooting going into his NBA career, and on the cusp of his second stint in the league, these question marks remain, particularly when you consider the fact that the NBA 3-point line is 3 feet and 3 inches further out than the FIBA 3-point line.
A more substantial concern these days would be the fact that Parker just turned 31 years old a year ago, and did not have as good of a season last year as he did the year before. Parker is clearly a late-bloomer who made incredible strides in his game from age 25-28, but for a team investing a more than decent share of their mid-level exception for multiple guaranteed years, this is a bit of a concern. Teams had a chance to sign him for much less 2 summers ago just as he was in his prime, but they all passed and embarrassingly decided to offer him nothing more than an invite to summer league. Now that the interest is finally there, you have to wonder if it’s come a few years too late.
Why sign him?
Anthony Parker is the best player in Europe right now, and has proven himself against every level of competition he has gone up against, including NBA talent. There is absolutely no doubt that he can contribute to a number of NBA teams, the only question is whether they will have the guts to compensate him enough to draw him out of the cozy confines of Tel Aviv.
Parker is not only the best player in Europe, he is also the most complete.He slashes, finishes, creates for himself and others, rebounds, passes, plays defense, shoots from outside and mid-range on great percentages, and does it all in an extremely unselfish, yet very exciting manner. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and always stays within the context of the offense. He has a great demeanor as well both on and off the court. Does he have what it takes to do that in the NBA? There is really only one way to find out.
If teams were going gaga over Brandon Roy (and rightfully so) these past few weeks, they have to look at a more polished and experienced version of him. Parker is no rookie and he doesn’t need to be developed or brought along slowly, he’ll essentially be paid lottery pick type money but will step onto the court and contribute immediately from day one.
This Final Four weekend was a story of night and day for Anthony Parker, highlighting equally well both his strengths and weaknesses as a basketball player.
In the semi-finals against Tau, Parker was nothing short of incredible in the 25 minute stretch that saw Maccabi steamroll through the Spaniards and open up a 30+ point margin that was only chipped away slightly in garbage time. Parker’s phenomenal athleticism and all-around versatile skills were on full display here, looking like a legit NBA starter in the process. Some of his highlights included stroking the ball beautifully from behind the arc and from mid-range off the dribble, finishing acrobatically around the hoop, defending seemingly every position on the court, handling and distributing the ball like a point guard, and doing everything else in between. Parker finished the first half with 19 points on 3/3 shooting from behind the arc, to go along with 3 assists and 3 rebounds. Parker came out for a few minutes in the 2nd half with a slight leg cramp as Maccabi traded baskets with Tau, and was more of a disinterested bystander in garbage time when the game was clearly over, not scoring a single point after his 19 point first half outburst.
In the Finals against CSKA things were very different for both Maccabi and Parker, as the Russians put a stranglehold on the Israeli team with their incredible team defense and did not give them any space to operate at all. He showed some sparks of greatness with a beautiful mid-range jumper off the dribble, an outstanding block and a deep contested three late in the shot-clock, but for the most part was exceptionally quiet as we’ve seen from him at times this year. He’s clearly more content being a role player and had problems creating his own shot against a defense that was clearly geared to containing his dribble penetration. He finished this game with 10 points on 4/9 shooting, and as usual was unwilling to force the issue even when his team clearly needed him to.
Whether or not he’s a legit NBA starter, like many people in Europe and the States think, is something we’ll have to debate for another year since he’s under contract with Maccabi for one more year with no buyout option in his contract. He’ll be making 1.2 million dollars next year--chump change for a player that is clearly the best guard on the continent—but seems very much content staying in Israel for another season. Considering the massive turnover that is expected on Maccabi’s roster this summer, Parker is one piece they absolutely can not afford to lose. While he looks nowhere near on the verge of slowing down at this point, he’ll be 32 next summer and will likely not be considered a great target for teams to go after in free agency. NBA teams had their chances over the past two years to sign him to a reasonable guaranteed and get an absolute steal in the process, but no team showed the intuition or fortitude to do so.
Parker is probably the most complete swingman in Europe right now. He pretty much does everything that is asked of him and much more, he is easily one of the most popular players in Israel because of his style of play and excellent personality.
Parker played college ball for Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference, was drafted in the first round (#21) by the New Jersey Nets as a college senior and was immediately shipped out to Philadephia in the first Keith Van Horn trade. He played two very non-descript seasons on his rookie contract battling injuries, and was traded to Orlando and waived soon after. He played for Quad City in the CBA for the rest of the year and later left for Europe after failing to catch on with a team in Summer league (he played for the Raptors). His first stop in Europe was with Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he stayed for two years, averaging around 14 points on good shooting and dishing out close to 5 assists in his second season. From there he went to Italy for a season to play for Roma, where he had a strong year with 14.5 points 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Last suimmer he was again brought back to play for Maccabi, where he and his wife say they feel at home. This year he probably had the best season of his career so far, his improvement as a player throughout the year was just stunning to watch. He helped Maccabi win the Israeli championship and cup, and put on a breathtaking performance in the Euroleague Final Four which earned him MVP honors for his efforts (24 points, 5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1 block per game). Basket News named him the best American player in Europe this season.
One of the best athletes in Europe, extremely quick and fluid, great vertical leap, explosive first step. Nice mid-range game, superb elevation on his picture perfect jump shot. Efficient shooter with great mechanics, shoots a very good percentage. Good ball handler, will occasionally bring the ball up the court and set up the offense. Slashes well to the hoop and finishes strong or finds the open man. Extremely unselfish, very nice court vision, especially when passing off the dribble. Makes everyone around him better. Creates his own shot just about as well as anyone in Europe, but hardly ever forces things. Good defender as well, moves well laterally and possesses nice footwork. Not afraid to stick his nose in to take a charge. A team player that is adored by his coaches, teammates and especially the fans. Has a great attitude towards the game and a winning personality. Very smart and efficient.
Parker does everything well, but nothing really great. In the NBA he would probably be considered a 7th or 8th man depending on the situation, and when you are reaching into your bench a lot of coaches really want to have one specific skill they know they can count on. While he shoots very well from long range (51/101 or 50% in 46 games this year) he's not really automatic from outside and you might wonder how well he will shoot from the NBA three point line. This wouldn't be a huge concern to me but that's the perception that is out there because of the player he used to be. Also consider that he plays for the #1 team in Europe with the best PG around so he obviously gets his fair share of open looks. Other then that it's hard to pinpoint the weak parts of his game, maybe you can say that he doesn't have a superstar mentality, he's sometimes a little too unselfish considering how much better he is then everyone, but that's also what makes him such a complete player, the fact that he doesn't need or want to take 20 shots per game and is willing to do other things to make his presence felt.
Why sign him?
He is in my opinion the best player in Europe today, he does everything on the court: He slashes, finishes, creates for himself and others, rebounds, passes, plays defense, shoots from outside and mid-range, and does it all in an extremely unselfish, yet very exciting manner. He knows his strengths and weaknesses (if he even has any) and always stays within the context of the offense. He has a great demeanor as well both on and off the court. Pretty much a perfect player on the European level. Does he have what it takes to do that in the NBA? There is really only one way to find out.
Parker has said many times that he is extremely content playing and living in Israel. He has no interest in leaving for the NBA unless the situation is ideal. His agent, Henry Thomas, has said that they will consider any offer over a million dollars, which is quite reasonable for a player of his caliber. A two year guaranteed contract for the lower level exception and the opportunity to come in and get around 20 minutes per game might do the trick. Teams that should give him consideration: New Jersey, Indiana, Orlando, New Orleans, Chicago, San Antonio, Sacramento, Houston, Phoenixthere is really no shortage of NBA teams out there that could use a quality backup all-around swingman.