Jalen Rose Deems Tony Parker 3rd-Best NBA Player Behind LeBron, Durant

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2013

Jalen Rose has spoken. And what did he say? That Tony Parker is the third-best player in the NBA behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Since Jalen tweeted it to more than one million followers, it must be true. Or not.

What exactly is ESPN allowing Jalen to smoke? Parker is incredible and deserved to garner more MVP consideration than he did this year, but Rose is overvaluing his talents.

Please don't mistake my skepticism for insolence. I love Parker. Always have. His postseason accolades have only left me further enamored. But the third-best player in the league? Behind only LeBron and the Durantula? That's a tough sell.

Parker has had a magnificent year. He averaged 20.3 points and 7.6 assists per game on 52.2 percent shooting during the regular season and has followed that up with 23 points and 7.2 assists on 47.5 percent shooting during the playoffs.

Now one of just five players—LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Gary Payton being the others—in NBA history to average at least 23 points, seven assists and one steal while shooting 47 percent or better from the floor and 37 percent from deep through 10 playoff games, there has never been a better time to sing Parker's praises.

Having just carried the San Antonio Spurs to their fourth NBA Finals appearance since 2002, bold assertions are expected and arguably warranted.

Declaring him the third-best player in the Association is too bold, though.

That puts him ahead of players like Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade and James Harden. And that's just to name a few.

Should Parker be ranked ahead some of them? Yes. All of them? Absolutely not.

As decorated a point man as Parker is, we can't misconstrue his most recent success for top-three greatness. It borders on unfounded and, quite honestly, ruins what Parker has been able to accomplish.

Rose is holding him to an impossible standard. Instead of appreciating what Parker has done and is still poised to do, he's tweeting in hyperbole.

Parker will never live up to top-three expectations. He's never even been held to them, because he wasn't supposed to be.

A case can be made for Parker as the league's second-best point guard behind Paul. Arguments that maintain he's the best floor general in the NBA can even be listened to without laughing. He's that good.

Just not third-best-player-in-the-league-good.

Sorry, Jalen.


*All stats from this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise attributed.