3. Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons was selected with the 38th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, joining many other players on this list as being second-round selections. Parsons played four seasons at the University of Florida, and made an instant impact as a freshman.
During Parsons’ freshman year with the Gators, he made the SEC All-Freshman team. Although Parsons following two seasons in Gainesville were also successful, he burst onto the scene in a major way during the 2010-11 season, which was his senior year.
The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds, while shooting a career-best 36.8 percent from downtown. Parsons was named SEC Player of the Year during that season, while also making the First-Team All-SEC squad.
In spite of the success Parsons had with the Gators, he slipped to the second-round of the 2011 NBA Draft, as the scouting report stated that he was too unselfish and lacked aggressiveness as a scorer. Parsons became a starter on the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, and posted averages of 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a rookie.
When the Rockets acquired James Harden in the following off-season, Parsons’ game really took off, as he finished second in minutes, points, rebounds, and 3-point shooting that year. The 6-foot-9 forward posted averages of 15.5 points on 38.5 percent from deep, in addition to grabbing 5.3 boards per contest.
Parsons even raised his level of play during the Rockets’ first round postseason matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as he averaged 18.2 points, 3.7 assists, and 40 percent from long-range, which were also second in each category.
Although Parsons made a huge impact on the hardwood, perhaps his biggest contribution came in the form of recruiting Dwight Howard to join the Houston Rockets, as it was stated that he played a large part in getting Superman to join the Space City in the offseason of 2013.
With Howard in the fold, the 2013-14 season was filled with preseason hype, and Parsons continued to improve upon his game. The Florida product posted career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals during that season, while also shooting 37 percent fro long-range, which was the highest percentage among Rockets’ starters.
Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, four assists, and 1.2 steals, while playing a major role in the Rockets getting the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Although the Rockets had an unexpected outcome during their first round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, Parsons continued to raise his level of play when the stakes were the highest.
The third-year Houston Rockets forward averaged 19.3 points and 6.8 rebounds, which were both third-best on the team during that series. In addition, Parsons made 36.1 percent of his triples, which was second-best on the Rockets. At the end of the season, Parsons cashed in on a major deal that paid him $46 million over the course of three years.
Although Parsons’ Rockets career spanned for only three years, he was a highly successful late round draft pick for the Rockets. In fact, Parsons later inked a four-year max contract with the Memphis Grizzlies that paid him $95 million, as he continued to defy the odds of being a late-round draft pick.
Next: No. 2