Chandler Parsons and the put back dunk

Very few acts in the world of sport assert manly dominance like the put back dunk. With its abrupt barbarity and one-upmanship, taking a ball that wasn’t meant for you, and slamming it through the rim, is the Miller Lite of basketball production.

In the moments after one occurs, seeds of unparalleled embarrassment are planted deep in the victim’s brain, while the dunker’s energy extends like sharp tentacles—from the other nine guys on the court, to the lonely man sitting in section 403 who just removed his pants and is madly waving them over his head.

For a split second, the move impacts the game greater than a 16-foot jump shot ever could. It causes a crowd to either enter brief pandemonium or sit on its collective hands like a reprimanded kindergarten class. It’s an opportune hustle play, not done for personal glory or individual accolades, and when it’s complete everyone is affected.

The put back dunk takes timing, intuitiveness, and, obviously, incredible leaping ability. Some players who possess all three go entire careers without tasting one. Its existence is their white whale (or Robert Redford’s Demi Moore). Others have felt the great feeling, and will someday relay the one-of-a-kind euphoria to their grandchildren.

Through his very first handful of games, Chandler Parsons has nearly half a dozen of them, each one inspiring greater awe than its predecessor. It’s become as unexplainable as it is amazing; the nightly put back dunks are somehow overshadowing what has become the league’s most pleasant, and consistent, surprise.

Parsons isn’t just a rookie, he’s a second round throw in on a draft night deal designed to shed a little salary space. Houston sent Brad Miller, Nikola Mirotic and a future 1st round draft pick to Minnesota for Jonny Flynn (booo), Donatas Motiejunas, and a future 2nd round draft pick. Later that night, Parsons was traded yet again, this time from Minnesota back to Houston for cold hard cash.

That doesn’t sound like the type of player who’s truly valued as a possible starter, now does it? Parsons is this year’s Landry Fields, only more athletic and far less vulnerable. He’s locking down John Wall and glaring at Blake Griffin. If opposing NBA teams don’t start boxing him out when Houston’s shot goes up, we may have a serious cult following on our hands. Add to this he’s locked down for the next four seasons at a ridiculously small salary, and what we have is pure gold.

Before placing most of his dunks in this post and exploding your internet connection, here are a few quotes Parsons—along with his teammates and coaches—has had to say in reference to what everyone else is already talking about.

Parsons, on if he’s surprised: “I really am. I’m not gonna lie and say I’m not. Because I had a lot in college, but, like, to keep doing this consecutively, it could be luck, getting lucky bounces off the rim. But I’m just going to keep going hard until somebody stops me.”

Kevin McHale, on possible reasons for Parsons’ success: “He just does things,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “He makes plays on the ball.”

Patrick Patterson via SB Nation: “He’s got a knack for getting to the rim. He seeks it out every single game, you know, he will get one.”

And now, some uninterrupted goodies:

Aaaaand, exhale.

Twitter: @ShakyAnkles

Posted in essays | Leave a comment | Sharethis | Permalink

One day free fantasy contest – $150 in cash prizes

Many of you e-mailed me about problems in our fantasy leagues (i.e: too many “bye-weeks”) and I have to sincerely apologize: that’s squarely on me and a result of the delay of getting things up and running.  I’ll be better prepared next year.

In the meantime, I thought I’d pass along a promotion from Draftstreet.com.  If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new way to play fantasy basketball that turns the season long grind into quick hitting one night leagues.  And you can win cash every single day.  You draft a team for one night and get paid out as soon as the games end that same night.  DraftStreet.com is at the forefront of this new trend in the fantasy world and is giving us a great promotion to kick off the season: a FREE one-day fantasy league with $150 in prizes exclusively for Red94 readers.

This free contest will be salary-cap style drafting where everyone tries to assemble the best team out of the available players. You will have a $100,000 budget to build a team of 2 forwards, 2 guards, 2 centers, and 2 utility players. Each NBA player has been assigned a price based on their expected fantasy performance.  You can adjust your roster up until the contest starts on Friday January 20th at 7:00pm ET at which time your rosters will lock and the Live Scoreboard will be available.

CLICK HERE to sign up for free and register for the Red94 $150 Freeroll.

Posted in from the editor | Sharethis | Permalink

Spam attack

Those of you who have been visiting the forum may have noticed some rather strange new threads in the past week.  It seems I’m getting spammed again and unfortunately, the only way to really control this is to turn off guest commenting.  (It seems they’ve managed to bypass the captcha that’s been making you guys set up that little puzzle.)

This is relevant because those of you who have been using the forum have been doing it as a guest.

I could tell you to just please register, but I doubt anyone will and that will kill off all discussion and any chance for a Red94 community.

So what I can do is register for you: if you want an account in the forum, just send me an email at rahathuq@red94.net and I’ll set it up and e-mail you the password.  Then you can go back in and change the password.

Regardless of your decision, I’m going to have to turn off guest commenting sometime this week.  Thanks for your patience.

WTF?

Posted in from the editor | Sharethis | Permalink

Rapid Reaction: Houston Rockets 97, Detroit Pistons 80

Detroit Pistons80Final

Recap | Box Score

97Houston Rockets
Chandler Parsons, F 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +14Continues to show he’s deserving of starting in the NBA. He never looks lost out there; just a very heady basketball player. Even though he lost it on the box score, Parsons didn’t look afraid for a second in his one on one battle with Tayshaun Prince.
Samuel Dalembert, C 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +23Led the team in minutes, had a game-high +/- of +23, and tied Scola with a team-high 14 points. When they’re active, Dalembert’s long limbs have the ability to completely alter Houston’s identity.
Kevin Martin, SG 28 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +15He’s been inconsistent this season. 11 points on 12 shots isn’t terrible if you’re Courtney Lee, but Martin’s reputation leaves more to desire.
Goran Dragic, PG 18 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | +6For the second straight game, Dragic came in as the angry backup who believes he should start. It’s the type of intensity opposing second units (and first units late in games) don’t want to see, and don’t look ready for.
Patrick Patterson, PF 24 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +3Was absolutely thrilled with this performance by Patrick Patterson; by far his best game of the year. He was both willing to shoot and making his shots, which is a great combination.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Rockets got to .500 by beating a team they should beat. That’s good news. It’s their fourth win in a row.
  2. No disrespect to the Washington Wizards and New Jersey Nets, but the Detroit Pistons might be the sorriest team in the NBA right now. They didn’t attempt their first free-throw until 3:34 remained in the third quarter, and their best player (Greg Monroe) was held to just four points on nine shots.
  3. It’s looking like Sam Dalembert is this team’s x-factor, and I’m not sure if that’s hopeful or terrifying. When he’s on—playing 30-plus minutes, defending the paint, finishing at the rim, and knocking down a respectable 10-footer—the Rockets are a different basketball team.
  4. Chandler Parsons put back dunks are the 2012 version of Kevin Love’s double doubles. Not sure if this streak will ever end.
  5. A bit strange in the category of scoring production: six players were in double figures, but nobody reached 15.

 

Posted in game coverage | Tagged | Sharethis | Permalink

The Window of Opportunity

The year is 2007. Present any Celtics fan (let’s go with Bill Simmons) a hypothetical situation. You have Paul Pierce at the apex of his career. He is wasting his prime on a 24-58 team where Ryan Gomes is the third-best player on the team and Rajon Rondo is benched in favor of Sebastian Telfair. Goodness gracious, that team was dysfunction personified.

Let’s say I tell Bill that they will get Undisclosed Superstar A, Undisclosed Superstar B, give their roster a massive overhaul, beginning with the release of the immortal Allan Ray. We’ll also provide Bill with a semi-functional basketball GPS, letting him know before the season starts that sometime between 2007 and 2012, the team will win a championship, but the year when that happens will be kept a mystery.

If I’m Bill Simmons, or any sane basketball fan for that matter, I would say yes without batting an eyelash. That’s a Larry O’Brien we’re talking about here. Whether it takes place in 2008 or 2011, a title is a title. Of course, we can say this because of this too-late-the-hero superpower everyone in the world is gifted with: hindsight.

There have been two methods to creating a contender, much akin to a house: buy or build. The Celtics went with buy, going after Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The Heat went with buy, hoarding LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The Lakers rigged Pau Gasol in a trade. Twice, for those of you keeping score.

On the other hand, the Thunder went the opposite way, farming young talent with the hope that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden mesh and succeed. Only time will tell where that direction takes them. The Bulls are somewhere in between while the Spurs are the result of the perfect storm consisting of a David Robinson injury at the right time, extensive scouting and picturesque chemistry.

And how about those Houston Rockets? They are neither buying nor building. They are the highly liquid team who doesn’t want to spend on a marquee asset or two. Somehow, it works. Since 2002, they’ve only had one losing season. They toil through the season with quasi-decency and flame out in the playoffs. In a previous article, Daryl Morey has been chided on focusing too much on statistics, thereby bloating the offense while compromising the defense.

The thing is, Morey is a great GM. But he has been so enamored with his Moreyball approach, grabbing value-for-money players. The problem is that there are too many what-ifs. For example, he picked up Donatas Motiejunas with the 20th pick, a 21-year old 7-footer with an outside touch. That pick is decent, mind you, but at the same time I am troubled with how Morey plays the waiting game. A bit too long, in all honesty.

You see, the problem is Morey is banking on unrealized gains possibly more than any other GM. If this were a finance class, you could say that he keeps computing at the future value of money but has no context on the repercussions of the Euro crisis or the Nigerian oil price inflation, a byproduct of economics.

Going back to D-Mo (as Kevin McHale calls him), let’s say he jumps to the NBA at the age of 25. That would be sometime in 2016 or 2017. What if Kyle Lowry suffers a season-ending injury that year, knock on wood? There are too many variables.

The point I am driving at is that Houston should aim buy, not build. Building would mean that Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson, and Marcus Morris get as much, if not more playing time that Samuel Dalembert and Luis Scola. That isn’t the case. McHale stubbornly keeps his best five in, not the five that should be bringing this team forward. His decision to play Chandler Parsons and hand over the keys to Lowry have been the two best decisions he has made as the Rockets’ coach so far.

I do not mind dropping this truncated season with a record of 24-42. None of you would remember how many wins the Rockets had in this season seven or eight years from now unless you have an eidetic memory. Trivia: What was the Rockets’ win-loss record in 2005-2006, the year both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady were significantly sidelined? My point exactly.

Now, I know most of you will point out the Knicks as an example of a team that bought talent, bringing in Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but the payroll has not yet translated to wins, if it ever will. That concern is understandable. You see, the team was so infatuated at the idea of “AnthoNY” back in his home turf that they were oblivious on how gutted their roster was post-trade.

Let’s tip our caps to the Rockets. The team is giving their full effort, eking out wins against the Blazers and Spurs. However, the wins are flukes, the exception rather than the norm. It would be nice to be keeping in step with the Clippers, who prove that the sun does shine, even for the unluckiest of franchises. A team with so much potential cannot be kept waiting, going for one Pyrrhic victory after another.

There is only one instance where the build scenario works out: the 2012 draft pick. Build on that pick, whether it turns out to be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Austin Rivers. Then dole out. Buy talent. This team also needs to sell some tickets, so a true superstar that can draw the masses would be very much welcome. Their game against Sacramento saw people coming in to cheer for the Jimmer. That was a sad sight to witness.

As we have seen, the Celtics’ window lasted four seasons, as they have spiraled downward this year and are looking more like a washed-up team than a Gatorade-pouring one. But that four-year window has been much better than anything the Rockets had going for the last 15 years.

The Dwight Howard Sweepstakes is coming up, and it would be better to punch in a ticket for that miniscule fraction of a chance. Remember, it was thanks to another big man that the Rockets were able to raise a couple of banners.

Because counting division title banners is so lame.

Posted in essays | Leave a comment | Sharethis | Permalink