Tony Parker’s signature move was a pirouette.
During his decorated 18-year NBA career, no one was better at spinning motion than the French point guard. Parker made a living by getting into the paint and scoring. His twist was the best trick he had to shake off the bigger defenders near the basket.
During Friday’s New Orleans Pelicans preseason game, Jose Alvarado used the same move. Alvarado created a separation with Bojan Bogdanovic of the Detroit Pistons with a rotation from left to right. Alvarado’s footwork caused Bogdanovic to crash into one of his teammates, which paved the way for Alvarado to deliver an undisputed scoop shot.
Parker’s influence at this time was evident. Alvarado said Friday that he had always admired Parker’s game, so much so that Alvarado contacted Parker over the summer for advice.
“I actually DMed him and said, ‘I’m a huge fan of yours,'” Alvarado said. “Is there any chance you and me could hit the gym this summer? ? I would like to.’ He responded right away.
Alvarado and Parker met at the NBA Summer League in July. Alvarado got Parker’s phone number. Later that summer, Alvarado traveled to San Antonio, where he and Parker trained together.
“He taught me little things that I needed to know,” Alvarado said. “Everything he said to me, I knew in my head. But hearing it from a legend who has done it for a long time, it made sense.
Parker spent 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He was a six-time All-Star and a member of four championship teams. Parker’s quickness and finishing ability inside were two of his most memorable skills.
Alvarado came off the bench to score 28 points on Friday. He made 9 of 12 shots inside 5 feet. It was the type of performance Parker often had during his playing days.
“Jose, he’s hard to describe,” said Zion Williamson, who scored 13 points in 20 minutes. “You know he brings that passion, that energy to the game that you want to see from anyone. He knows how to make a threat. Don’t let him fool you. Jose knows how to make a threat.
Alvarado spent four seasons at Georgia Tech. As a senior, he averaged 15.2 points and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He was not drafted, mainly because of his height. It is listed at 6 feet. In reality, he is closer to 5 feet 10 inches.
In January, Alvarado began receiving consistent minutes in the Pelicans’ rotation. He carved out a role as a low-error secondary playmaker who could be a defensive agitator.
Alvarado focused on improving his attacking game at the start of his second season. He understands just how much attention Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum will get.
“When I’m out there with them — CJ, BI, Zion — they leave somebody open,” Alvarado said. “I will make them pay. Me, hitting makes them doubt. “Okay, we can’t leave it open.” I just want to do my part and be a threat there.
Alvarado was more than a threat on Friday — he was unstoppable. The Pistons couldn’t stay ahead of him. The variety of shots Alvarado took on the edge was reminiscent of Parker.
“It was pretty cool working with him,” Alvarado said. “If the year continues like this, I will definitely hit his phone next year.”