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The Rockets Daily – July 25, 2013

Maybe It’s the Hair – You know what happens when you go from second round pick, to starter, to team captain in two seasons flat? You gain confidence. Know what I mean, Chandler Parsons?

Chandler Parsons believes there is one key Houston Rockets figure that played the biggest role in the franchise landing Dwight Howard in free agency.

Himself.

Chandler Parsons pointed Dwight Howard to the Rockets as soon as the season ended.”I think I had a big impact,” Parsons said at USA Basketball’s mini-camp. “The first thing he said at the press conference was that, ‘You guys should thank Chandler Parsons because he is a big reason why I am here.’

“Obviously, he loves the team, [general manager] Daryl Morey, coach [Kevin] McHale and all that. But I think I just gave him that comfort that you got one of your boys here who is also a key part to the team, a young guy. And we can grow on this for a long time.”

That’s from Yahoo’s Marc Spears’ excellent article on Parsons yesterday. It goes on with Parson’s sounding like a cross between John Calipari and every fraternity president ever, but netw3rk summed it up best on Twitter:

That would make me sad. Never change, Chandler Bang.
Rankage – The Annual Offseason Doldrum NBA Rank-A-Thon has begun! ESPN Insider has kicked it off with Keving Pelton’s July Western Conference Power Rankings, slotting Houston at no. 3 behind OKC and San Antonio:

There are still some issues around the edges, particularly at power forward. Coach Kevin McHale will have to determine whether Omer Asik can play with Howard, or if youngsters Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas are ready to step into larger roles. If they prove capable, the Rockets could move even higher.

Follow that up with a 5-on-5 on the Western Conference, and Royce Young of the Daily Thunder brings up the fact that it’s not just the changes that improve the Rockets outlook. It’s what stayed the same:

It’s pretty straightforward: They got Howard, so therefore they will be much better. But their young roster will also be a year improved. It’s not just the James Harden-Howard combo, it’s the well-rounded depth they have. They were going to take a big step forward whether they got Howard or not.

Now I’m breathlessly awaiting #NBARank and the new Hollinger profiles. Who can replace John Hollinger? Will it be Zach Lowe? Kevin Pelton? Does Vegas have odds on this? Inquiring minds want to know…

Building Blocks – We’re not done with Chandler Bang yet. Yahoo’s M. De Moor composed a breakdown of Parsons’ strengths and weaknesses, and advocates adding a very un-Rocket element to his game:

If Parsons wants to evolve as a scorer, he’s going to need to develop some sort of mid-range game. Whether he decides to develop a more traditional pull-up jumper or a one-footed runner is up to him. Parsons attempted to incorporate both last season, but he didn’t show a lot of comfort with either shot. If he can consistently shoot the ball from 18-20 feet after getting his defender in the air, his scoring numbers could go as high as 20 points a night.

While it’s true that Moreyball is built on threes and at-rim shots, it’s also true that NBA defenses have figured that out. Against a team like the Miami Heat, corner threes and dunks will not happen. In fact, it was Dirk Nowitzki’s uncanny ability to hit low-percentage shots that earned the Mavs their championship. So while a 20-foot jumper should never be option number 1, it’s helpful for punishing teams who play Moreyball defense.

Hoop KaballahYesterday, I posted the surreal video of Yao and Hakeem practicing post-defense in a room full of designer handbags (it’s in the headquarters for Hakeem’s DR34M clothing line). Today, the dream continues with a more in-depth discussion of the two legends talking about how to guard Dwight:

Interesting points from Yao in the two videos: he says he always backed off from Howard whenever Superman would face up (daring him to shoot), but that he would intentionally bump him as soon as Dwight put the ball on the floor, because it would force a turnover. Also, around the 3:20 mark, Yao’s assessment of his physique versus Howard’s physique is priceless.

Chandler Parsons: Thespian – We’re still not done with this guy. He has his own Funny or Die video now, so you know he’s legit.

Too legit to quit.

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About the author: John Eby got on the Rockets bandwagon in 1994 and never got off. He is a public relations guy and recovering TV journalist living in South Carolina.