Last season the Dallas Mavericks sent a ripple throughout the Western Conference, and more specifically the Southwest Division dynamic, when they signed restricted free agent Chandler Parsons to a massive three-year $46+ million dollar offer sheet. After using the allotted three days to mull over this decision, Rockets management declined to match the lucrative offer to the 25-year old forward.
Parsons first season in Dallas –and just his 4th in the NBA– was met with a lot of criticism. There’s no getting around the fact that a guy picked after 37 players in the 2011 Draft who now makes just about maximum money (annually measured, relax folks) will be under a hot microscope.
In 66 games (and 1 playoff game) before having his season cut off by right knee surgery, every lady’s favorite basketball player averaged 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds (1 offensive), 2.4 assists and a steal with a 46% field goal percentage and 38% from beyond the arc.
Two areas in particular are of high 2015-16 importance to me, because the 16 points a night, while absolutely an area that can see a higher number, was a great addition to an offensively successful Dallas basketball team. However, perhaps Parsons’ biggest and most valuable attribute is being a 6 foot 9 (or 6’10” with a ratchet depending on which former Florida Gator you ask) small forward is getting in the paint and rebounding. After seasons of 4.3 and 4.6 RPG, CP25 saw a drastic decline in rebounding as that number came down to under 4 a game at 3.9. With Dirk Nowitzki at power forward, a very key part of bringing in Chandler Parsons was to alleviate Nowitzki’s minute impact on the boards.
The Mavericks were dead last in rebound rating (yes, worse than Philly ((29th), according to ESPN.com’s John Hollinger. And Tyson Chandler is gone.
Simply put, because this is a one sentence paragraph: that has to change. Parsons has to help on the glass. Has to. Has to.
The other part of “Chandsome’s” game that really disappointed was the passing game (Go Cowboys). Just like Parsons offers rare potential of doing some big man chores (rebounding), he does the same in the “little man” department. After improving upon his assist numbers in each of his first three seasons (2.1 to 3.5 to 4.0 APG) as a Houston Rocket (puke), that number dipped dramatically down to 2.4 in his first season as a Mav. Blocks and steals also came down a tiny tick just as long as I’m reliving all things depressing.
A back court built with enough shooters to lose a war before it starts, Parsons got no help in floor spacing and henceforth his assist game last season. Jameer Nelson/Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis don’t make three pointers. Especially the latter two (except for Monta who turns into Ray Allen in the Playoffs). That has turned on it’s head this season with the additions of free agents Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams. Both guys are floor spacers and shooters, opening things up for Parsons to not only get his passing game back to where it can be, but probably set a career high with 4+ APG.
The Mavericks –for the every year since the Championship team– are a completely different team. For better or worse, things are once again considerably different personnel wise. Hey, Dirk’s still here. With Tyson Chandler departed to Phoenix in Free Agency (and Amar’e Stoudemireto Miami if you want to count that), supplanted by a new duo of Zaza Pachulia, Samuel Dalembert as well as the potential potentially potential awesome addition of JaVale McGee (I’m optimistic), the framework for the 2015-2016 Dallas Mavericks presents a better opportunity for Chandler Parsons.
Do not expect Chandler Parsons to become a 20 PPG scorer, but the peripheral stats, particularly rebounding and passing, should and honestly must go up. Despite a lot of capable ball handlers (Williams, Devin Harris, J.J. Barea, Raymond Felton‘s ghost) CP is expected to be utilized in more of a point-forward role, one he could become a serious stat stuffer in. Maybe not 2004 Andrei Kirilenko or 2006 Shawn Marion, but the ceiling is incredibly high for Parsons if all the desirable things fall into place.
Of course, if he’s not healthy none of this matters anyway. Get well soon CP!