Analyzing A Second Round Pick: The Chandler Parsons Story

The uphill path of an NBA second round draft pick is lonely; filled with obstacles and non-guarantees. It’s dark. It’s tantalizing. These players are so close to the dream they’ve dreamt since their tiny brains were capable of processing dreams and remembering them later. It sits on the tip of their tongue as they come to the realization that they’re sitting on the precipice of either entering a real life NBA rotation, or falling beneath the cracks, to the D-League or Maccabi Tel Aviv. Their heroes are few and far between, with every second round pick believing he’ll hit the lottery within a lottery, growing into a Monta Ellis, Manu Ginobili, or Gilbert Arenas. (At the very least they’re all confident enough to expect something along the lines of Glen Davis, Dejuan Blair, or Landry Fields.)

The second round pick is dispensable, but he also possesses the most to gain and the least to lose, entering the league with the firm conclusion that it was he who deserved the guaranteed money his first round rivals were afforded, and he who from this day forth will outwork all those selected before him. So close to his dream, yet still so far away. This is the life of a second round draft pick.

In 2011, Chandler Parsons was the first player in his school’s history to be named SEC Player of the Year (thanks for coming out Mike Miller, Joakim Noah, and Al Horford). A title that’s either lofty in praise or a testament to how far the conference has fallen when we talk about the nation’s most talented divisions. In 34 minutes per game, he averaged 11.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and just under three free-throw attempts. In other words, Parsons won the award for reasons undefinable by statistical measurement.

It is for this reason alone a Rockets fan should’ve been nodding assuredly on draft night. Parsons is a near Chase Budinger clone; a player who’s more than advanced in several areas with nary a glaring weakness. He’s versatile, well-rounded, athletically gifted, and smart. He stands a couple inches below seven-feet and plays with the mindset of a selective shooting guard, making him one with the times and a valuable commodity.

One scouting report pegs Parsons as a perfect fit at the small forward position when matched alongside scoring guards (Goran Dragic and Kevin Martin, anybody?), as either a spot up shooter or someone capable of cutting without the ball and invading the paint. It’ll be interesting to see how Kevin McHale plays his hand with the rookie. The Rockets are a team capable of making the playoffs, but they’re also wanting to showcase the talents they have in case a trade is warranted. Taking for granted Parsons’ ability to play at the NBA level, does he find room in a regular rotation? As a first year coach with pressures to win in the here and now, does McHale allow the opportunity?

Right now Chandler Parsons is in France—he recently posted a 14 points, 11 rebound, five assist performance for Cholet—fine tuning his skills while the lockout ensues, exposing himself to the physical play of European basketball. When he comes back, assumedly a better player, and the league ends this nonsensical stoppage of play, what title will Parsons be tagged with: Asset or player? Piece or prospect?

Looking at the 2011 second round, what we have is an unusually deep pool of collegiate “stars” whose days of being the man on their team are over, never to return. It’s an adjustment not every skill set can make. Parsons, however, could be one of the hopeful few, recognized as the best player in his conference while barely scoring in double figures. His body type also makes his ceiling a bit higher than others.

Still, Parson’s expected impact at the next level is marginal at best, hence the 38th overall selection. How he shapes in the Rockets organization is one of the more overlooked yet important subplots of the upcoming season. He’s an extremely difficult player to dissect, but has a puncher’s chance of making some sort of difference to the team that drafted him; as a second round draft pick, what else could we expect?


Twitter: @ShakyAnkles

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