What's Not To Like? Rockets SF Chandler Parsons, Previewed

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Just what don't you like about Chandler Parsons? His hair? His goofy expression? His air of benign bro-ness? Get past it. Chandler Parsons may be the best SF the world has never heard of.

Rather than diving right into the profile, let's first consider good and bad qualities in isolation.

  1. 6"10", 222lb Small Forward, not PF playing out of position.
  2. Good ball handing skills, "point forward" caliber handle.
  3. Quick enough lateral movement to stay with nearly any SG/SF. Height allows him to stay back on man, and is thus rarely burned off the dribble, yet can still contest shots.
  4. Instinctive passer, who can dish in traffic or in half-court.
  5. Solid rebounder, with a talent for spectacular tip-dunks on offense. Ask Blake Griffin.
  6. Finishes well off the break or drives, especially with left hand, and can score without plays being run for him.
  7. Above average athlete with positive outlook and drive to improve game.

At this point we've gone a pretty far way to describing one of the better players, not just Small Forwards, in the NBA. Much of the above could be applied to, for example, Kevin Durant. If I was writing a Durant profile and listed the above traits everyone would just nod "yes". Don't get in a lather, I'm not saying the two are the same, or even especially comparable, but I am saying that Chandler Parsons has an awful lot of good qualities as a player.

Here's something Parsons alone can claim among young players. He actually got compliments from Kobe Bryant for his defense.To put that in perspective:

A. Kobe Bryant couldn't give a rat's ass about 99% of rookies.

B. Kobe Bryant doesn't compliment much of anyone besides Kobe Bryant.

C. Kobe Bryant usually doesn't think anyone played good D on him, rather, he simply failed to completely eviscerate them that night, but he will, soon.

Now some bad traits for our not-so-mysterious mystery SF:

  1. Shot is essentially unblockable, but last season it was a low-arc, non-rotating, line-drive.
  2. FT shooting started out abysmal before becoming acceptable late last season.
  3. Sometimes makes poor decisions on drives, gets caught gambling on defense or offensive glass.
  4. Many don't like facial expression, hairstyle.
  5. Attended Red Hot Chili Peppers concert recently.
  6. Gets more positive female attention than you do. (If that's something you seek.)
  7. Is a former Florida Gator.

Let's deal with the basketball issues, before we consider Chadler Parsons' potential crimes against all things good and decent.

Shooting - It wasn't that great last year, but if anything is fixable in a player, it is shooting. Its tough to learn to rebound, or handle the ball, or pass by the time a player reaches the NBA. Shooting, on the other hand, remains fixable. Even Jason Kidd became a passable 3pt shooter, and Parson's case isn't nearly as desperate as that.

Closer to home, when Kyle Lowry came to the Rockets he was not a 3pt threat. At all. Defenders played off him, wanting to stop his very effective drive to the rim, or drive and dish, knowing he wouldn't burn them from deep. That changed when he came to Houston. Lowry went from shooting 24% from 3pt land in his Memphis and his early Houston days, to shooting 37% last year from deep.

Parsons started out at 33.7% from 3pt range, in a rookie year without a camp, or really, any practice time. That is not dreadful. This pre-season his shot looks to have some arc and rotation on it, and the encouraging results bear out what my eyes are telling me. Parsons is currently shooting the three ball at 41% (small sample size warning). If he keeps that up, he's a major offensive asset from long range. I think a number like 38%-39% 3pt% is well within reach.

Parsons finished the year shooting a 75% FT rate, after being comically below 50% to begin the year. Again, it looked like a fix was in progress last season, and the pre-season also seems to confirm this (in small sample size) with Parsons shooting 75%.

His general shooting was at 45% overall last year, and this pre-seaon he's around 47% (do you need the sample size warning again?).. A little more accuracy on the short range shots makes him a very dangerous offensive player indeed. I think that's attainable with improved shot selections, or on more drives to collect fouls and raise the TS% number.

So what's left to complain about?

3- Questionable decision making, gambling on defense and the offensive glass - should improve with experience. We may see fewer tip dunks, unfortunately, as Parsons hustles back to defend, rather than going for the spectacular jam. Anyway I see overall improvement as Parsons is a generally smart player.

4- Facial expression, hairstyle - from my old curmudgeonly point of view, all you whippersnappers look sort of ridiculous. Sorry, but you do. I have a hard time understanding why he's so much worse than a guy with an ironic mustache, square black glasses and tattoos depicting favorite gluten free snacks. Maybe both are extremely bad?

5- Parsons did tweet about enjoying a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, and I don't think he was being ironic.

6- I'm just assuming that any NBA player gets more positive female attention than you do, if that is, indeed, something you want. Parsons might do a bit better than an average NBA player, as he projects an aura of friendliness, much like former Rocket Carl Landry did.

7- He did go to Florida. There's no taking that back. That means he's a defacto Tebow supporter. Again, don't know what to do here but I plan to just ignore it and hope it fades into the background over time.

All joking aside, here's what I see Chandler Parsons doing this year:

16.5pts, 6.7 rbs, 3.9 ast, 1.6 stil, .9blk per game, while shooting a good percentage and playing outstanding D in big minutes.

Here's another SF. Some think he's pretty fair.

15.3pts, 5.8rb, 4.9ast, 1.7stl, .5blk -mediocre percentage shooting, outstanding D. Tons of minutes.

Player #2? Andre Iguodala - 2012 All Star.

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