Jan 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) speaks with power forward Dwight Howard (12) and small forward Chandler Parsons (25) during the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Guest Post: Can Chandler Parsons Be A Championship Piece?

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter @NBAandNFLInfo or on the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more NBA basketball news and rumors visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – a fantasy basketball blog

Over the past two seasons, Chandler Parsons has been overlooked due to playing beside James Harden and Dwight Howard (one-year). However, he was a huge part of the Houston Rockets’ success. Although he has only been in the league for three years, Parsons has improved dramatically and has become a “stat-sheet-stuffer.”

Before I get into anything, let’s first take a quick look at how his stats are looking through his first three years in the league with the Houston Rockets.

2011-2012 Season

Parsons was selected by the Houston Rockets in the 2011 NBA Draft. He was picked in the second round with the 38th pick in the draft. He earned playing time right away and made an immediate impact on the court.

During his rookie season, Parsons played in 63 games and started 57 of those games while averaging 28.6 minutes per game. He finished the season averaging 9.5 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, 0.5 blocks per game and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 45 percent from the floor, 34 percent from long-range and 55 percent from the free throw line.

2012-2013 Season

For Parsons’ sophomore season in the NBA, he saw an enormous increase in his role. That increase included more games, more minutes and more production. He played in 76 games that season, started all of those games and averaged 36.3 minutes per game. He finished the season with 15.5 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game, 0.4 blocks per game and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 49 percent from the floor, 39 percent from behind the arc and 73 percent from the free throw line.

2013-2014 Season

Although it wasn’t a big increase, Parsons was given a little more time on the court. However, that little time led to another increase in his statistics and production. Parsons played and started in 74 games last season and averaged a career-high 37.6 minutes per game.

Parsons finished the season with 16.6 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 4.0 assists per game and 1.2 steals per game. Those were all career-highs for the small forward. He shot 47 percent from the floor, 37 percent from long-range and 74 percent from the free throw line.

Parsons Isn’t Finished

Although Parsons hit career-highs in almost every category last season, he still has yet to hit his prime years. He will most likely continue to improve and hit his prime with the Dallas Mavericks, the team who nabbed him as a restricted free agent.

The Houston Rockets weren’t ready to match the offer Dallas made to Parsons, which was worth $46 million over the next three years. They felt like that was too big of a price to commit to as the third wheel to their roster.

However, Chandler Parsons seems happy that they didn’t do that. He’s glad to be part of a Dallas team that has a lot of faith in him to deliver as one of the leaders of the team. Chandler Parsons is very excited to be given a bigger role and more leadership than he had in Houston. It’s definitely the perfect place for Parsons and the perfect system for him to play in.

To get back to the question, “Is Chandler Parsons good enough to be the third-best player on a championship team?” I think the best way to answer that is to compare this situation with the Miami Heat when they had their “Big Three.”

Third-Best Player?

I don’t know if you remember, but four years ago a decision took place that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami to join Dwyane Wade. The three-some had an amazing run before James left to Cleveland. They were the favorites for the title each year they were together. They made it to four-straight NBA Finals appearances and won two NBA championships during their four years together. Their run was nothing short of legendary.

In that situation, LeBron James was the obvious leader of that team. Although this is opinionated, I would say Dwyane Wade was the second-best player (when healthy) and Chris Bosh was usually the third-wheel. With that being said, let’s take a look at Chris Bosh’s statistics and compare it to Parsons. For the sake of the argument, I am going to take Chris Bosh’s stats from the 2012-2013 season (when they won their second championship) and take Parsons’ stats from last season (his best season.)

For the 2012-2013 season, Chris Bosh played and started in 74 games while averaging 33.2 minutes per game. He averaged 16.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game and 0.9 steals per game. He shot 53 percent from the floor, 28 percent from long-range and 80 percent from the free throw line. The main thing to keep in mind is the role he had on the team. He didn’t have to be a dominant scorer, but he had to be excellent on defense and grab rebounds.

Compare that to Parsons, you would see that they played the same amount of games but Parsons had more minutes per game. They averaged the same points per game, but Bosh had 1.3 more rebounds per game. (Keep in mind, that was Bosh’s job. Parsons is only a small forward.) For assists, Parsons averaged 2.3 more per game than Bosh. Defensively, they were both very solid for their respective positions.

Conclusion

After comparing Chris Bosh, who was the third-best player on the Miami Heat championship team, and Chandler Parsons, there’s a lot of similarities. With that being said, I would say Parsons is definitely good enough to be the third-best player on a championship team. And that means either next year or the year after.

I say that because Parsons isn’t even close to being his best. I think further down the road, Parsons will eventually be the second best, if not THE BEST, player on a championship team. However, for right now, Parsons definitely has what it takes to be one of the top players on a championship team. And the fact that he is still improving is only good news for the Dallas Mavericks.

Editor’s Note 2.0: Reminder: These are the opinions and thoughts of Justin Becker. 

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