In fact, the Parker proctor himself says there are similarities between the evolution of Parker and Westbrook.
“I think that’s a great comparison,” Popovich said of Westbrook. “He was a scorer. He’s still a scorer, because he’s such a dynamic player and so talented. But he finds people way more than people give him credit for. There’s no doubt about that. Fans just see the dynamic way that he plays. But he’s perfectly willing to hit the open man. He knows the importance of it.”
Westbrook being Westbrook, he wanted no part of the Parker comparison.
“I don’t know if they (the Spurs) started 3‑29 like we did,” Westbrook said. “Maybe you can look at it a different way,”
But it’s clearly the truth. Parker and Westbrook have turned themselves into great point guards. Kevin Durant rode shotgun with Westbrook during that maturation, including that excruciating 2008-09 season.
“I think it's an adjustment period for any young player to come into the league, no matter if you were a point guard in college or not,” Durant said. “I think with point guards, it’s a longer adjustment period because that's the hardest position to play in the game. For him just being a role player in college to being a point guard in the NBA, I don't think a lot of people gave him a fair enough assessment, especially because of the time period and how you need to grow in that position, and he's grown leaps and bounds.”
Sounds a lot like the point guard in the other uniform Thursday night. Parker has done exactly what Pop asked of him so many years ago.
“Over time, I can honestly say he’s done that,” Popovich said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way he’s adjusted his game.”
The same sentiment goes in Oklahoma City for another remade point guard.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.