Year In Review: Chandler Parsons
Reflecting upon Chandler Parsons’ past, present and future following the 2013-14 campaign
For the vast majority of the 2013-14 season, Chandler Parsons was a human metronome of offensive production. He could consistently be counted upon to deliver somewhere in the range of 17 points, five boards and four assists on a nightly basis, wonderfully filling the Swiss Army knife role within the Rockets’ up-tempo offense. And even though a post All-Star break shooting slump – Parsons hit around 50 percent of his field goal attempts and 40 percent of his 3s prior to the break, but those numbers dropped to 42 and 32, respectively, afterward – put a slight damper on his scoring average, he still managed to regularly contribute at a comparable rate.
The story largely remained the same in the playoffs: great start in Game 1 followed by a rough patch for a pair of games, and then a very strong finishing kick on the offensive end that culminated with a last-second put-back that looked to have locked the Rockets and Blazers into a do-or-die Game 7. Heavy sigh.
The 25-year-old was a minutes eating machine during the regular season, ranking seventh in the league while playing nearly 38 minutes per game. That number increased to 41.5 in the playoffs. And he certainly didn’t lack for activity during his time on the court; Parsons tied Chicago’s Jimmy Butler for the NBA lead in distance traveled per game (2.7 miles).
While no recap of Parsons’ campaign would be complete without mentioning the out-of-body experience he enjoyed on January 24 against Memphis, by now you know the drill: even a game that saw the Florida native sink 10 consecutive triples while compiling 30 points in the second half can’t be considered his high water mark for the season if it ends in a loss, as that particular contest did when the Grizzlies escaped with an 88-87 victory.
So instead it seems appropriate to place the spotlight on Parsons’ exploits from four nights earlier, when he erupted for 31 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks during a 126-113 thumping of the Portland Trail Blazers. Parsons began the game toasty and never cooled, finishing the contest 12-of-19 from the floor, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
THE NEXT STEP
As Parsons prepares for an offseason of hard work in preparation for his fourth season in the league, he’s made no secret about the part of his game that requires the most attention going forward.
“Just put all my focus and energy on the defensive end,” he said during his exit interview with the media. “We have guys that can score the basketball but we have to have that mindset that we can come out here and beat teams and I can be that guy who can lock down the other team’s best scorer.”
That promises to be welcome news for a Rockets team that has made no secret of its desire to pair its already top shelf offense with a similarly elite D. The 6-9 forward’s length allowed him to do quality work against spot-ups and when defending pick-and-roll ball-handlers, but there’s no question that Parsons is definitely capable of improving his ability to slow down the opposition in all other situations. Simply put: a significant step forward for Parsons on the defensive end would figure to be a game-changer for the Rockets next season.
On the offensive end, meanwhile, Parsons simply needs to continue building upon his impressive and versatile array of skills. He’s already a solid secondary playmaker via pick-and-rolls, does fine work utilizing dribble hand-offs, and can be downright lethal in transition. He established a career-high assist rate while trimming his turnover rate to a career-low. And despite his month-long, midseason shooting slump, Parsons still finished the year having hit more than 41 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s while compiling a 42 percent hit rate from the corners. This is a player who has not yet even hit his prime. There’s every reason to believe, then, that Chandler Parsons’ best is still to come.