“The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.”
There are plenty of big name players on the Houston Rockets from Dwight Howard to James Harden. The Rockets have plenty of firepower. But the unsung hero of the Houston Rockets is starting small forward, Chandler Parsons; the versatile 6’10 forward who plays a bigger role than most people think, on one of the most exciting teams in the NBA.
Parsons, from Casselberry, Florida played alongside fellow high school stars Nick Calathes and Joey Rodriguez. Together, they won the 2007 5A state championship where Parsons was named the MVP of the state championship game. He went on to attend the University of Florida and under the tutelage of Billy Donovan, began to shape his game. Chandler was known at Florida for hitting big shots as he hit unbelievable buzzer beaters against NC State and South Carolina during his time as a Gator. He stayed in college all four years a move which for today’s young players hurts their draft stock.
Parsons was selected 38th overall in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets, and instantly found his way into the rotation. He started 57 of the 63 games during a shortened season and averaged almost ten points per game, playing well enough to be named to the ‘All Rookie Second team’. During the summer of 2012, the Rockets added Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, both impact players who would help make the Rockets a contender in the Western Conference. They then traded for James Harden, an explosive scorer who provides another option in the offense.
All the changes happening within the structure of the team did not seem to phase Chandler. He welcomed all new players with open arms. He even tweeted a screenshot of a text conversation he had with Jeremy Lin about Lin sleeping on his couch until his furniture came in. You see, Chandler is the ultimate glue for a team. Not only does he provide a multitude of assets on the floor, he brings teammates together.
Bringing teammates together is an underrated asset to any team. In today’s NBA with mega contracts surpassing 100 million dollars, the size of some of the egos of players is unbelievable. When there are too many egos in one room someone is bound to get their foot stepped on. This causes friction and problems in the long run, and when a player like Chandler is in your corner, he is there to help resolve such issues before they even happen.
During the 2012 season, Parsons saw increased minutes as he provided increased production. He did a little bit of everything, shooting 49% from the field, 39% from the three, while grabbing 5 boards, 3 assists and 15 points per game. Let’s not forget, most nights he was assigned to guard the best wing player on the other team. His ability to stretch the floor allows slashers like Lin and Harden a kick out opportunity, but can also help hide Harden’s defensive flaws on the other end of the floor.
Parsons played a huge role during the Dwight Howard sweepstakes luring the All-Star to Houston. Both Parsons and Howard share the same agent and began a friendship back when Howard was on the Orlando Magic. Parsons and Howard texted frequently during the summer as Parsons would answer any questions Howard had. Parsons used the idea of teaming up Harden, Lin, and himself as being a force to be reckoned within the Western Conference. He also discussed what it is like playing under Kevin McHale and the benefits of working with Hakeem Olajuwon. Parsons became the bridge between Howard and the Rockets, and he helped bring the two parties together.
The addition of Dwight Howard to the Rockets aided Parsons in numerous ways. Last season he continued his hot start to his NBA career, shooting around the same percentages from the field but also increased his scoring to almost 17 points per game. He had a few very memorable moments as well, last season. He hit an NBA record, 10 three pointers in a half against the Memphis Grizzlies back in January. He set his career that night with 34 points.
Chandler Parsons is a high character athlete who provides many different assets to the Houston Rockets. He continues to develop and expand his game, and Rocket fans should be excited to see what he brings to the table next year. I believe he is the perfect fit for the Rockets because he doesn’t demand touches on the offensive end but can still get his points in the flow of the game. His perimeter defense combined with Howard’s post defense should serve to give opposing teams fits. Parsons doesn’t get the credit he deserves when it comes to the successes of the Rockets, but believe me, he is going to turn some heads next season.