The Emergence of Chandler Parsons


November 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

“Chandler Bang!”

The exclamation by the Houston Rockets’ announcers after a big play by Chandler Parsons has become a common sound during Rockets broadcasts this year.

The phrase has also become Parsons’ nickname, even though no one can agree on what it means. Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote, “It might be a play on “bang” for a made shot and the “Chandler Bing” character from Friends, but it has become one of those irritating little announcing idiosyncrasies you hear across the League Pass spectrum.” While everyone might not like the nickname, Parsons, for one, is okay if it sticks.

After spending four years at the University of Florida, Parsons was drafted 38th overall in the second round of the 2011 draft. Because of the lockout, however, Parsons began his professional basketball career in France playing three games for Cholet Basket before returning to the United States.

Unlike many second round picks, Parsons had an immediate impact in the NBA. By the seventh game of the season last year, Parsons took a starting role and never relinquished it. He finished the year with 57 starts, averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds a game. His performance as a rookie was good enough for an endorsement from one of the game’s best, Kobe Bryant.

At the end of the season, Parsons was named to the All-Rookie Second Team, one of only two second-round picks awarded this honor.

This year, Parsons has managed to improve his game, and has been a big part of the Rockets’ solid start to the season. The 6’ 9” forward has averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds a game so far this year.

The main reason Parsons is having such a good season is his versatility. He can knock down the three, but is also liable to throw down a dunk over taller defenders.

The three-point shot has been Parsons’ greatest weapon this year. It forces defenders to close out hard when he is spotting up, giving him a chance to drive past them to the basket. Parsons is currently shooting 42% from deep, one of the better percentages in the league among players who have taken as many threes as he has. Because of his three-point shooting, Parsons effective field goal percentage (which takes into account the fact that threes are worth more than twos) is 57%.

Not only can Parsons shoot the three, he can drive the ball strong to the hoop and finish at the rim, even if it means going over a taller defender. In this video from last season, Parsons showed off his ability to finish with strength. (Warning:  Music Contains Strong Language)

This season, Parsons is shooting at a 60% rate near the basket. Even with the knowledge that he can hit outside shots, his reputation for driving the paint gives the defender second thoughts when trying to guard him.

Even though he currently faces a short setback with a shoulder injury, all signs point to Parsons being a big part of the future in Houston. As Zach Lowe tweeted recently, perhaps the best part of Parsons’ improved play is the contract they just signed him to.

The Rockets surely are in need of another big time player, but with James Harden in town and Parsons headed for a breakout season, the future is bright in Houston.

Someday soon, the Rockets will get back to the post-season, and playoff basketball will return to Houston. And when that time comes, and Chandler Parsons makes a big play, fans will yell out with joy,

“Chandler Bang!”