This is a topic regarding which I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time, most especially during those rare moments when evidence of the matter occurs right before me. In any event, I finally got around to looking into the numbers earlier today.
To begin, a common fallacy is to assume that because a player is tall, he must naturally be effective in the post due to his height advantage. This is incorrect reasoning. While height is certainly a contributory factor in post effectiveness–perhaps the predominant factor–other things are necessary too: strength, body control, balance.
In years past, I had often seen people suggest that because of his 6’9 frame, Chandler Parsons should sometimes take to the post. Up to that point, I dismissed the possibility because, aside from his height, Parsons hadn’t exhibited any qualities that would lead me to believe he could be effective posting up. That was until this year.
This season is the first where I’ve noticed Chandler posting up. It happens very rarely. But the few times I’ve seen it, it has led me to believe that it is an option which could be more frequently utilized.
On the year, Parsons has posted up just 11 times. On those attempts, he is generating 1.09 points per possession, shooting 55% from the floor and scoring 55% of the time; none of the plays has resulted in a turnover. Major ‘small sample size alert’ on the aforementioned. 11 tries isn’t enough to build a thesis. But the six makes from those tries is undoubtedly suggestive of competence. By comparison, Dwight Howard, who has posted up 559 times this season, is shooting 45.3% on postups, generating a score 39.9% of the time.
The real evidence is in the tape.
Look at the body control and balance Chandler demonstrates here against an all-world defender in Lance Stephenson. Parsons gets him up in the air, works off of his pivot, and lays it in. That’s a pretty high level of coordination our man just demonstrated.
Look at this one:
Here, our guy is able to use his size and back his man down, finishing over the top with a beautiful fadeaway.
And lastly, Chandler shows off the quick spin move, beating his man to the cup for the lay-in.
Look, I’m not saying Parsons in the post should be the Rockets’ bread and butter. But its no secret I’ve been a critic of the Rockets’ lack of originality on offense, particularly in close games. I’d like to see the team mix things up here and there, aside from just Harden 1-4 clear-outs.
We saw McHale hand the ball to Parsons on consecutive plays to close the game out against the Grizzlies. Predictably, that episode was an epic failure – Chandler doesn’t have the handles or the quickness to take his man off the dribble against a set defense. But the tape here shows that Parsons in the post might be something for further experimentation. When I looked at the numbers–without the tape–I assumed each successful instance came in result of a switch with our man taking advantage of a smaller point guard inside. As we saw, in reality, he did this against full-grown small forwards.
I’d like to see Houston mix these wrinkles in here and there as a test run. They absolutely have to find more crunch-time options. Beverley can’t really create and you might not want to give Howard the ball late in the game due to his turnover/free throw woes. But having Parsons flash across the lane, into the post, off a Harden pass could be a good option.