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Never a Bride: Why the Memphis Grizzlies Should "Marry" Chandler Parsons

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No more second fiddle, no more bridesmaids' dresses, no more being overlooked and passed over. If there were ever two sides destined to be together, they are Chandler Parsons and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It's no fun to be taken for granted.

The city of Memphis knows this first hand. Ever hear parts of conversations like these?

What is the best city to visit in Tennessee?

Nashville, of course!

Where can I find the best BBQ out there?

St. Louis, or Texas, or North Carolina.

Here's one I have had before with some buddies-

Who is the team in the Western Conference that has made the Western Conference playoffs the past six seasons that isn't the San Antonio Spurs?

The Golden State Warriors, right? No wait, the Los Angeles Clippers, of course. No wait it has to be Oklahoma City and the Thunder.

Nope. It's the Memphis Grizzlies.

Who?

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What does Chandler Parsons have to do to get a little respect?

He played in 142 games in his collegiate career at the University of Florida. He was named the 2010-2011 SEC Player of the Year, a key cog in the Gators' machine as they advanced in the NCAA Tournament all the way to the Elite 8.

Despite his college success and NBA size (6'9", 215 pounds coming out of Florida), he was a 2nd round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, #38 overall to the Houston Rockets.

This second round pick played in 63 games as a rookie, starting 57 of them, and played in 213 games during his three seasons in Houston, starting in 207 of them. He shot 47.3% overall and 37% from three point land over the course of those three seasons, posted .117 win shares per 48 minutes according to basketball-reference.com, and helped Houston get to the NBA Playoffs in 2013 and 2014. He also made 10 three points shots in a game against...sigh...the Memphis Grizzlies in 2014.

His contract was up in 2014, and Houston must surely have made it a priority to bring a big, skilled shooting wing back to the Rockets, right?

Wrong.

Thinking they could do better, Houston prioritized signing other free agents like Chris Bosh and lost Parsons. Chandler took his talents to Dallas, likely thinking that perhaps he could be a bigger part of their franchise. And again, Parsons performed well, especially offensively - he shot 47.5% overall from the field and 39.5% from beyond the arc in two seasons with the Mavericks. He played in 127 games for Dallas, starting 117 of them, as injuries affected him some and kept him out of the lineup more than it did in Houston or at Florida. Despite this, he still showed remarkable offensive skill, scoring 16.9 points per game on solid percentages while he posted a .118 win shares per 48 minutes according to basketball-reference.com.

He also continued his reputation as a Grizzlies killer, posting multiple good games and one particular huge night against...sigh...Memphis, as a Maverick this time around - 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Parsons is a bigger wing who can play either forward position, who can create off the dribble against various mismatches and can also spot-up shoot threes at a devastating clip. Surely Dallas, as Parsons wisely opts out of his deal to take advantage of the rising salary cap of the NBA in the Summer of 2016, would make bringing a weapon like him back, right?

Wrong.

Mark Cuban and company have other targets in mind, according to reports, meaning that for the third time in his NBA career Chandler Parsons is about to be taken for granted. A player who in his five year NBA career has never posted a negative season of net rating...

Year Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Net Rating
2011-2012 105 105 0
2012-2013 113 108 +5
2013-2014 114 108 +6
2014-2015 112 108 +4
2015-2016 110 108 +2

...a player who seemingly fits so nicely into the modern NBA both in offensive skill set and positional versatility, is about to yet again be passed over because of the opportunity at perceived better things on the horizon.

Chandler Parsons has always been a bridesmaid as a professional basketball player, and never a bride. He's been an also-ran, a "complementary player" who has rarely, if ever, been made a priority when the time for being drafted, or signing a new contract, has come. Here again he stands, his former team looking beyond him, with free agency again before him.

Time to make a commitment, Chandler. It's time to get hitched...to a team who understands what it means to be overlooked and underappreciated. It's time to come to the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Kevin Durant? Memphis never had a chance.

Al Horford? Big man is not a need, and he wouldn't come to Memphis anyway.

Bradley Beal? Restricted. Dwayne Wade? No shot. Nicolas Batum? Looking for a fifth year that Memphis cannot provide. Harrison Barnes? Far too Jeff Green-esque for our blood.

On and on and on, the Grizzlies go down the list of names, each likely out of reach. Until, hopefully, they get to Chandler Parsons.

They surely see the production outlined above. Two of the best performances in his career have come against the Grizzlies (see videos above), so his skill set has been on full display for Memphis executives on multiple occasions. They hopefully notice his age (28 when the season starts) and see a player in his prime, who can fill multiple needs for a team in desperate need of an entrance into the modern NBA stratosphere. Coach David Fizdale surely sees the possibilities with Parsons on the floor as a spacer and a pick and pop player, a bigger wing who can take advantage of undersized perimeter players and under-athletic power forwards.

If Chandler is wise, he will surely see the opportunity that would lay before him in Memphis. This team has needed a combination of shooting and a bigger, versatile wing on the perimeter since the dawn of "Grit and Grind". This is a team whose major free agent work, re-signing Mike Conley, would be done after signing him so that Memphis can max a player out if necessary (after some work to lift cap holds off their books). Parsons could potentially get whatever contract he wanted with Memphis, within league rules, and Memphis would be wise to offer a full max if he is willing to sign it.

That contract will smart less a year from now, as the cap jumps yet again and the approximately $15 million of Zach Randolph and Tony Allen come off the books. Another roughly $28-$30 million (perhaps even more) will be available for the Grizzlies to spend next summer just from the jump in the camp and those two contracts expiring. That represents another chance to bring another player near or at a max contract, depending on the player.

Chandler Parsons could be the missing link between the end of Grit and Grind and the beginning of what comes next for the Memphis Grizzlies.

But Parsons would also get something in Memphis with the Grizzlies that he has not gotten in his professional career - commitment not only from an organization, but from a fan base. When a player comes to the Bluff City and they embrace it, and when that player plays their ass off for the city, no matter their past, they are almost always accepted. The best and most recent, example of this is Mario Chalmers. The man who hit "The Shot" that helped end the Memphis Tigers' title dreams in 2008 came to Memphis hated by many and left it beloved by much of Grizz Nation.

How did he do it? Good-to-great play and a great attitude. Parsons has committed far lesser sins against Memphis (Grizzly killers can be forgiven, right?) and would fill a need that the Grizzlies have had for some time as a starting wing. In Memphis, Parsons could be both a star and a part of something larger, having the potential to be an icon individually and a member of a team that continued a tradition of winning basketball for the Grizzlies. He could fill the void that Zach Randolph and Tony Allen will eventually leave behind, not in terms of what those guys have meant to Memphis overall but in terms of productivity and leadership.

No NBA team has offered him a future with him being a valued, key member of the roster as well as a potential star on his own and then backed it up. The Memphis Grizzlies are in a position to do just that.

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Chandler Parsons will likely have his pick of the litter when it comes to his free agency. Supposedly, he will be "all ears" to all interested parties, according to reports.

But look around, Chandler. New York or Brooklyn would be "sexy", but is there a basketball future there you really want to be a part of? The lights of LA could be fun, but who's to say you will shine as brightly among all the "stars" both on and off the court there? The Clippers are pursuing Kevin Durant and the Lakers are after Hassan Whiteside, and while they are "interested" in you according to reports, they have Brandon Ingram, DeAngelo Russell, and other young players in the fold. Sounds like places to be taken for granted again.

There are surely other potential landing spots. Do any of them have the combination of talent already assembled, recent history of success, and a massive, dire need for the skills and possible star power that Parsons possesses that Memphis and their Grizzlies do? Parsons could be the real steal of a signing, a missing piece finally found for a team ending one era and beginning another all while hoping to remain relevant in the Western Conference. Chandler Parsons has the ability to be this bridge, an exclamation mark on the end of Grit and Grind as well as a key figure in the next chapter of Memphis Grizzlies basketball.

Chandler Parsons has spent his career looking for full NBA commitment and fufillment. The Memphis Grizzlies have spent six years looking for offensive firepower. Both sides have spent roughly the same amount of time going under-appreciated, wandering in the NBA wilderness as other, less-worthy teams and players took their spotlight. Thankfully, the stars have aligned starting this week for these two star-crossed basketball entities to make the other the happiest basketball player/team in the world.

It is a marriage made in NBA heaven, just waiting to happen.

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