Before he made a ton load of money as a member of the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies, Chandler Parsons was beloved by many during his three-year stint with the Houston Rockets. Although he never quite lived up to the high expectations that made him a fan favorite in H-town, Parsons’ career once looked extremely promising as a 6’10” sharpshooter.
Originally selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Parsons came to the Rockets with a rare opportunity not too many second-round picks ever get to experience. At the time of his arrival, Houston was officially past the T-Mac and Yao era, and the superstar-less Rockets were a team that gave several up-and-coming players a chance to prove their worth in the league.
Appearing in 63 games as a rookie, Parsons made an immediate impact on the Rockets, as many viewed him as a potential building block for the foreseeable future. While averaging 9.5 points on 45.2 percent shooting from the field, Parsons helped the Rockets finish the lockout-shortened season with a record above .500 (34-32) and received All-Rookie Second-Team honors in 2012.
Parsons averaged 28.6 minutes his rookie year, and the Rockets gave him a chance to display his talents as a forward who could run the floor, shoot from the outside, and put the ball on the floor to create shots for others as a playmaker. While his production was high during his first season, Parsons’ career in Houston really skyrocketed over the next two years.
Now playing alongside James Harden, Parsons became the most lovable player in Houston by his second season. As the full-time starter at small forward, the Rockets saw an increase in his on-court production, as his averages jumped to 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists throughout 76 games.
His most memorable game of the 2012-13 season came in the Rockets’ 136-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, as Parsons scored a then-career-high 32 points on 12-for-13 shooting from the field.
While fans began to fall in love with his on-court play, by his third season, it was his off-court persona that made Parsons a true fan favorite in Houston, in particular with the ladies. During the 2013-14 season, Parsons officially became a heartthrob after he appeared in a racy Buffalo David Bitton advertisement with supermodel Ashley Sky as his lead lady.
Posing shirtless with a supermodel did not hinder Parsons’ game, as he helped the Rockets end the year with their most successful season since 2009 with a 54-28 record. He averaged a career-high 16.6 points and had several of the most extraordinary performances of his career. In the Rockets’ 88-87 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Parsons set an NBA record for most threes in a half and a franchise record for threes in a game, as he scored a career-high 34 points and drained 10 three-point field goals, all in the second half.
Parsons’ short stint with the Rockets came to an abrupt end after he signed a three-year $46 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks during the summer of 2014. Although his decision to sign with the Mavericks stung the Rockets’ fan base, his departure from Houston came in due time.
After averaging 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds during his full tenure in Houston, Parsons never lived up to those expectations with other franchises. His on-court production took a dramatic fall, as knee injuries caused a premature end to his season in two of the following five years.
Parsons was never quite loved the same in Dallas or Memphis, and pictures of him partying with Mark Cuban when the Mavs owner was courting him as a free agent ended up souring a lot of Rockets fans, but make no mistake... while he was in Houston, Parsons was one of the Rockets’ biggest fan favorites of all time.