Apr 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons (25) dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Chandler Parsons is about to go from one of the NBA’s biggest bargains to receiving a major pay day, but with that comes responsibilities.
Chandler Parsons received a $46 million, three-year contract offer from the Dallas Mavericks on July 9. The Houston Rockets had been awaiting the decision of Chris Bosh before making a decision on whether or not to match the offer sheet on Parsons.
With ESPN reporting Bosh is remaining a member of the Miami Heat, the Parsons situation becomes more sticky. If the money is committed to Parsons, it will preclude the option of adding a max-contract superstar.
Parsons may not have the brand name appeal of Carmelo Anthony, but there are a multitude of reasons to believe he may be a far better fit for this Rockets team. Even so, with Parsons having taken steps in each season as a pro, the steps need to come even quicker with the inking of a hefty contract. Parsons averaged 15.9 points per game last season, up from the previous two seasons, while his percentages dipped slightly as a result of the increased load.
However, he must remain efficient because that is a huge part of his draw. On nights when Harden is attempting 35 field goals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Parsons needs to pick and choose his spots. There have to be more of them if Houston is to succeed.
Additionally, he must be very consistent to back up Harden as the secondary option on offense. Parsons disappeared on some nights, and as a second option that is more glaring and problematic.
While Dwight Howard may draw double teams, the Rockets will not be implementing an inside-outside offense like Howard had during his days as a member of the Orlando Magic. Howard averaged nearly 23 points per game in 10-11, but will likely never approach that figure again. His once pogo-stick like legs just lack the bounce they had pre-back injury.
Due to this, it is imperative that Parsons evolves into a 20-plus point per game scorer and a playmaker. Harden must relinquish some of the load (which will enable him to give an honest effort on the defensive end, but that’s a digression for another day).
Parsons has a great rapport with teammates and is a close friend of Dwight Howard’s. The chemistry the team displayed on offense last year was unquestionable. But Parsons and the Rockets all have improvements to make if this is going to be the core of a contending team. It’s on the brink of contention, but there needs to be tinkering.
Parsons is an instrumental part of that as a fourth-year pro next season, and his value has already been established on a rookie contract after coming out of Florida. He had already won player of the year in the SEC in college, but the Rockets nabbed one of the better steals in recent history, due to a lot of questions regarding his ultimate upside and age (23 year old rookie). Sometimes, “upside” can be a pretty overrated thing.
But now that lack of upside has turned into a player who could be an All-Star potentially. And that is the decision Houston has to make. Does Daryl Morey buy that Parsons’ continued improvement could render him a quality second fiddle? Or would the Rockets be better off pursuing a different (see: max contract) free agent, this offseason or next?
The team wasn’t expected to peak so early after obtaining Harden last season, and adding Dwight Howard made a major difference. But it was still a first round exit, no matter how one spins it.
As the team is constructed, it seems to be the least of all gambles to use a current budding star as key in the nucleus, but Morey ultimately has to decide whether Parsons represents a $15 million per year contract. Moreover, it requires a faith that this current nucleus could contend without major tweaks. We shall see if Morey believes such.