Would the Rockets have retained Parsons had the team advanced further in the playoffs?
Daryl Morey ultimately decided not to bring back Chandler Parsons because he didn’t feel that Parsons could be that third star to help elevate the Rockets into a championship winning team.
When Dwight Howard was added to the team last summer it was supposed to take the Rockets to the next level in the playoffs, and make them a championship contender. After the unexpected first round exit in the playoffs for the second straight year Morey figured he would be able to lure one more star this summer and still retain Parsons.
When that failed, Morey was forced to decide whether to keep Parsons as a part of the core and hamstring flexibility for the next few years, or bring in a decent replacement in Trevor Ariza and keep the possibility open of being able to add another significant player.
Chandler Parsons all along felt that he could be that third star, and was disappointed/offended that the Rockets didn’t view him like that, as he divulged to Yahoo’s Marc Spears. You can’t blame Chandler Parsons for having the belief/confidence that he is or could be a star player. I also don’t think you can blame him for not favoring that the way in which the Rockets handled free agency, he didn’t rip the organization, he respectfully disagreed with the thinking.
Parsons may have been a little big headed when he said he is the best recruiter in the NBA. Surely anybody who is an actual elite player would be a better recruiter of players than Parsons. He is also inaccurate in thinking that Dallas was making him a priority because they felt better about him than the other big free agents. Dallas was last in line out of all the possible contenders, and after they knew Carmelo wasn’t going there they shift their attention to Parsons.
Parsons said he doesn’t think he has scratched the surface of where he can be as a player, which does sound like a stretch because he would be going into his 4th season as a starter and seems as though he is close to his ceiling, if he hasn’t hit it already.
Reality is that Chandler Parsons these past two seasons had the opportunity to prove himself as that third star. Parsons performed well in the playoffs, his numbers back that up but when the team desperately extraordinary performances in the Portland series he had the chance to take his game to the next level, but he couldn’t. With James Harden struggling the way he was, Parsons could have filled that role.
Some can make the argument that his counterpart on the Blazers Nick Batum outplayed him in the series despite Parsons having the advantage in several statistical categories. Batum, like many of the Blazers players seemed to make all the big shots and plays when it mattered most toward the end of games.
Chandler Parsons is as close as you can get to that line that separates a very good role player from a star player. One has to wonder if the Rockets had advanced further in the playoffs, is Parsons still a Rocket one way or another?
The logical person would say that the Rockets this past season with the addition of Dwight Howard at a minimum should have made it to the second round. Some believed that the Western Conference finals was a realistic possibility, and a few even picked the Rockets to represent the West in the Finals.
How Could Have Playoff Success Changed Things
Lets say the Rockets lose in six games to the Spurs in the second round, or in 6 games in the Thunder in the third round.
There have been rumblings around the NBA, as noted by Grantland’s Zack Lowe, that due to the reputation of James Harden and Dwight Howard, players don’t find the Rockets’ situation as appealing as one would assume. But does that thinking change if the Rockets make a deep playoff run? Do Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh commit to Houston if they know for a fact that their arrival turns the Rockets into the favorite to win the finals for the next 3 years.
The other scenario in this hypothetical is even if none the the players decide to come, the decision to match the Mavericks’ offer to Parsons becomes more difficult. If the Rockets went deeper in the playoffs would Morey still break up the core of the team by letting Parsons go? I have to imagine that Morey would have swallowed hard and matched Parsons’ deal. The Rockets were in their first year as a core with Dwight, so maybe you stick with the same core relying on better cohesion and growth among some of the young players, along with a few minor tweaks to the roster.
This is something we will never know but the Parsons decision is going to remain a talking point for at least the next few seasons. Especially with the Mavericks being the same division, playing against them four times a year.
What Could Have Been
Chandler Parsons was the Rockets’ longest tenured player and improved his game every year, mainly his offensive skills. He became a better shooter, ball handler, creator, slasher, and emerged as one of the leaders of the team.
As a fan of the team and of Chandler Parsons, especially in his rookie year, I really would have liked to have seen him maintain the defensive ability he displayed his rookie year. Contrary to what some people say or might believe, Parsons was an above average defender his rookie year. By no means was he a Bruce Bowen or Tony Allen type defender, but Chandler in his rookie year gave players fits.
Rockets fans on message boards that season even began to speculate how many All-Defensive teams Parsons had the potential of making.
I suppose after that season Parsons wanted to focus on improving his offense, and decided to spend most of his energy on offense, causing his defense to fall behind.
Something else that fell off a bit from his rookie year was some of his athletic ability. For whatever reason in his rookie year Parsons seemed as though he got more lift when jumping and was able to glide more in the air. He had atleast 10 different incredible posterizing type dunks, many of which came on off rebounds. We saw some good Parsons dunks since then of course but not really of the same quality.
Parsons also didn’t seem to be as agile with his feet athletically on the defensive end. In the two years since his rookie season it has been difficult for Parsons to stay in front of those super athletic players, which wasn’t as big of an issue in 2011-2012.
It would have been great if we saw the same growth on the defensive side that we saw on offense from Parsons. He would also most definitely still be a Houston Rocket if he had.
There are several ways Parsons could have proved to be that definite third star to help take the Rockets to the finals. Nobody was hoping for that more that Daryl Morey.
We would also like for James Harden or Dwight Howard to be that leader that the team could get behind, but their personalities has that at question. Parsons seemed like he could be that kind of leader, he has the confidence for it, but the total talent has to be there to match.
With the dominoes falling the way they did, Morey could have went ahead and matched Parsons’ offer sheet and there probably would have been significantly less backlash. That would have been his ride or die core for the next few years, but Morey himself said he thinks there could be a better path, and didn’t not want to restrict the team’s flexibility to get better.
One of the things that has somewhat held this team back is the head coaching, McHale is a good coach but his not elite, and at times is unable to get the team to play at its full capabilities. Parsons now will be playing under one of the best coaches in the NBA, and might thrive more under him. So monitoring that is something to look forward to.
Morey has gotten the Rockets this far, even if some believe it hasn’t been far at all. Truth is the Rockets have come a long way from having Kevin Martin and Luis Scola as the teams best players four years ago.