With a stroke of a pen in a Florida nightclub this summer to sign a three-year, $46 million offer sheet, the Dallas Mavericks gave Chandler Parsons the opportunity to be the next big thing in Big D. Wrestling him away from the hands of their in-state division rivals the Houston Rockets, who allowed Parsons to become a restricted free agent despite having him under contract for one more season and could have kept him chose not to match Dallas’ offer.
Parsons tried to downplay the matchup with the Rockets after the Friday night’s Lakers game as “just one game out of 82,” but this is no doubt different.
“I don’t know what to expect since I have never been through anything like this,” Parsons said. “I’m sure it will be emotional since I played there for three-years but it will be good to see everybody down there and it should be a fun experience.”
So far this season the twenty-six year old small-forward has not shot the ball well making a career-low 40.1 percent of his attempts. Despite his struggles from the field offensively, Parsons has been one of the Mavericks better defenders this early season with a prime example of him being the primary defender on 32,000-point scorer Kobe Bryant, who struggled to get 17 points on 6-of-22 shooting last night.
“When you play a team that’s so dominant by one player, I want to take the challenge,” Parsons said. “I wanted to guard him and I wanted to do whatever it took for our team to win. You stop him, you stop them. I just wanted to make it difficult for him. He’s one of the best scorers to ever play the game, so I just tried to use his size and stayed down on his fakes and make him shoot over a taller defender.”
After scoring 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting in Friday’s 140-106 rout of the Lakers, Parsons is now averaging 14.5 points a game for a Mavericks (10-3) team which is currently on a six-game winning streak and is third in the Western Conference standings.
The Rockets are likely to welcome Parsons with a tribute video on the big screens at some point during the game, similar to one they did for guard Jeremy Lin when he visited with the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week.
When pushed about the reception he expects Parsons said with a smile “I don’t know, I have a feeling a couple of girls will boo.”
No matter the reception, if Parsons continues to play the style of defense Mavericks head man Rick Carlisle demands while steadily improving on a game-by-game basis. It will be Parsons and not the Rockets who will playing deep into the playoffs this summer.
Kendrick Johnson writes for a daily newspaper and is an independent print journalist and sports television reporter who has covered the NBA Finals, NFL, NCAA football, MLB, NHL, championship boxing and UFC Fights. He’s done numerous one on one interviews with some of the biggest names and personalities in sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso