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James Harden will almost certainly be an All-Star this year. But is the next Houston All-Star going to be Chandler Parsons?
When the Rockets picked Chandler Parsons with the 38th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, not much was expected of him. He was long, he could pass, and he was reasonably athletic, but his shooting and finishing inadequacy was expected to hold him back and force him into a season in the Rio Grande Valley.
However, as the season wore on, his true form began to take shape. He supplanted Chase Budinger in the starting lineup, became the team's go-to defensive player, and rose to the top of the team's trade assets. Still, Parsons averaged just 9.5 points per game last year, and seemed to be a decent candidate for the sophomore slump.
With the Rockets over halfway through the season, it is Parsons, not Harden or Omer Asik, that I believe to have made the biggest strides from where he was last year. He's the team's second leading scorer (not sure what that says about the Rockets), he's improved his shooting across the board, and he's continuing to improve on the defensive side of the ball.
The question is, with the All-Star Game approaching, does Parsons have one or two appearances at League's All-Star extravaganza in his future?
Unfortunately, it appears as though the answer is a resounding no. Right now, Parsons is feasting off of other players looks. He's a great cutter, slasher, and an improving spot-up shooter, but until he becomes a go-to player on offense, he's not going to be an All-Star.
Looking at the past All-Star rosters, it's a challenge to find anyone who hasn't at one point been a first option. To imagine Parsons becoming a potential first option would require you to believe he can either become a dominant low post scorer or improve his handle drastically to break down players on the perimeter.
He's shown a nascent post game and some nice ball fake skills, but neither one is going to make him a featured member of the offense. Though everybody loves Parsons as they should, he's a lot more likely to land in the Shooting Stars contest in the future than the game itself.