Chandler Parsons‘ path to health following offseason knee surgery has been a rocky one. But has he begun to turn a corner?
It may have taken a little longer than many had hoped, but it appears as if Chandler Parsons has turned a corner in his recovery from offseason knee surgery. After minute restrictions, rotation experimentation, and a whole lot of hand-wringing and head-shaking from MFFLs all over the world, the 26-year old has quietly played pretty well over the last 10 days or so.
The Mavericks’ recent rough stretch has masked it a little bit, but over the last five games Parsons has looked a lot like his pre-surgery self. Dating back to the 10th of January, when the Mavericks collected a six-point victory on the road over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Parsons has averaged 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
Best of all has been his efficiency in that stretch: 58.3% shooting from the field overall and an even more impressive 56.3% shooting from three-point land. And if you throw out the stinker in San Antonio Sunday, a game in which Parsons shot 2-7 in a 29-point beatdown, those numbers are even better. Everyone in a Dallas uniform played poorly in that one.
Parsons’ best game in that five-game stretch was his 25-point (10-14 from the field) 8 rebound performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He moved well without the ball, showed some lift on his two dunks, and the lower body strength to finish inside after being knocked off balance. One of his normally flat-as-a-pancake jumpers actually left the frame it had so much arc. Parsons also played over 40 minutes in the overtime loss, further evidence of his physical improvement.
This couldn’t come at a better time for the Mavericks, who have slipped in the standings a bit after going a pedestrian 5-5 in their last 10 games. Dirk Nowitzki has been mostly good recently, especially in the late stages of last night’s wild win over the Boston Celtics, but his shooting percentage from the field has dipped and Dallas could really use someone capable of shouldering a little more of the offensive load consistently. And that’s the thing with Parsons: consistency. Because he’s had a similarly effective five-game stretch in recent history.
From December 18th through the 28th, Parsons averaged 13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists against the Grizzlies, Raptors, Nets, Bulls, and Bucks. But he followed it up by scoring in single digits the next three while shooting 6-19. This feels a little different. It seems like the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on January 6th, when Parsons led the team to victory despite being the only starter in the lineup with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, helped him get his confidence back a little bit.
Time will tell if Parsons’ recent play is the start of a strong second half or just another mirage, but his body and mind seem to be cooperating simultaneously for the first time this season. It’s a good sign for Parsons and the Mavericks, and if he keeps it up Dallas could be the team nobody wants to face in the first round.