Chandler Parsons Sees Success for Rockets
Forward Chandler Parsons was chosen by the Houston Rockets with the 38th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft and immediately had to deal with the reality of a NBA lockout. Capable of playing both frontcourt positions as well as hit the three ball and deliver the extra pass to a teammate, the self-professed NBA junkie is still trying to get used the fact he’s part of a NBA team.
“It’s surreal,” Parsons told HOOPSWORLD. “I’ve been a huge NBA fan my whole life, so just to be in this situation is unbelievable. It’s very exciting. I just come in every day and try to learn from these guys, just listen, and try to get better every day because I think I can be a great fit here. They guys are nice guys and it’s just a good group to be around. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
It’s not lost on the long-time NBA fan that playing for a NBA legend like Kevin McHale, named the Rockets’ head coach late last spring, is something that can really improve him as a NBA big man.
“It’s very weird, but it’s unbelievable. Just to be able to learn from one of the best, you can’t ask for much more than that. Just watching those guys playing my whole life, and then watching these guys…it’s just really weird to be on their team and in the same locker room with them. You kind of get used to it after awhile. At the end of the day you’re playing basketball and you’re just trying to win games.”
In just about any other offseason rookies get summer league coaching and training, suggestions on offseason workout regiments, and then come into a month-long training camp with seven or eight preseason games before they make their official NBA debut. With the lockout Parsons didn’t get that, but he feels the team is coming together.
“I don’t think anyone right now is in real game/NBA shape. That’s going to come with time and just working hard, but in the shortened training camp you’re trying to get the chemistry going with the guys as much as you can. It’s basically coming together at practice, eating together, and just trying to build that relationship you couldn’t do all preseason. Our players did a pretty good job staying in touch during the lockout, so it’s not like we were complete strangers when we came for training camp.”
Parsons measures 6-9, making him the fourth player on the roster listed at that height with starting power forward Luis Scola, 2010 first-round pick Patrick Patterson, and 2011 first-round Markieff Morris. Those three play a very different game than Parsons and each have at least 35 pounds on him, making their games a better fit in the post while he fits better on the perimeter, more akin to starting small forward Chase Budinger. In Houston’s first game against the Orlando Magic Parsons didn’t get off the bench, but he’s not going to let that bother him.
“You just gotta do whatever Coach asks you to do. It’s all about opportunity, so when you get your opportunity you’ve got to go out there, you’ve got to produce, and you’ve got to have fun. It’s a blessing to be here in the first place, so just to be able to come out here and play is unbelievable – and to get paid to do it is incredible. We’ve got a great team with a lot of young guys, guys similar to me, but you just have to play your game.”
The Rockets have a history of finding gems where others have not. The picked up Scola from the San Antonio Spurs for nothing of value, dug out Budinger in the second round a few years back, and starting point guard Kyle Lowry wasn’t given a real chance to shine before coming over in trade from Memphis. Being chosen in the draft by a franchise with that kind of track record for scouting made him feel good, and the Rockets didn’t just sign him to a make-good deal. Unlike most second-round picks, Parsons was given a four-year deal with the first two seasons fully guaranteed (much like the deal Budinger received when he was drafted, also in the second round).
“It does, for sure. Just to be chosen by these guys shows a lot and the contract I got really shows how much they care with how much they invested in me. I think we both think it’s a good fit and we’re excited for the future of it.”
In Parsons’ four years at Florida he played the first two in the National Invitational Tournament and the latter two in the NCAA Tournament, ending his college career in the Elite Eight last season. He’s used to winning, but lately the Rockets have been on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Despite that, he thinks this team has a chance to find success.
“I think so. These guys were a good team last year and they barely missed the playoffs, so I think we all got better. We added some new pieces, we got some size, so I think we have a chance to be really good this year.”
Parsons has been impressed with all of his teammates, but after being pressed on who surprised him the most he had one answer: Luis Scola.
“Scola’s good. You look at him and you don’t see it, but he produces. He gets it done, he’s crafty. He just finds ways to rebound, to take charges, and he knocks down open shots. He’s really good.”
Parsons himself has a fairly textbook looking jump shot, one that led him to hitting 37% from three-point range as a senior. Teammate Kevin Martin, Houston’s leading scorer, has one more – well – unconventional.
“It doesn’t matter. At this level, as long as it goes in, form is out the door. It doesn’t matter as long as he’s hitting them. He’s a great player so he can shoot however he wants to.”
Joking around aside, Parsons has goals for his rookie season. While some rookies want to score a certain number of points or earn certain accolades, he is cognizant of his situation with the Rockets and simply wants to help his team win games.
“Win games and I want to play well. I want to come in here and do whatever I did in college, to be a versatile player who can do a little bit of everything and do anything I can to help my team win, whether that’s rebound, defend multiple positions, or play multiple positions. (I need to) make open shots and make the guys in this locker room better players.”
Right now Chandlers Parson is on the outside of the Houston Rockets’ rotation looking in, but given a chance he will provide whatever he can. The team has made a financial commitment to him and believes in his talent, so you know at some point his time will come. Parsons plans on being ready.
What are your thoughts on Parsons and the Rockets this year? Leave them in the comments below! Follow Jason Fleming on Twitter @jfleminghoops.