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In Defense of Chandler Parsons

Plus, a tangent on Troy Williams. And vodka Red Bulls.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It remains to be seen what Chandler Parsons can supply to the Memphis Grizzlies, over the remainder of this season as well as the remainder of his contract. His three-point shooting remains in Andrew Harrison territory, so basically it’s horrible. Not that the Grizzlies could get picky, but none of what they signed him for is there right now. The need still holds.

This was always a possibility, especially when the Grizzlies offered him the contract that Mark Cuban wouldn’t. Much of that came down to the information on his knee that each team had, and maybe Memphis just made a bad call on his injury history. I don’t know, and at this point, after all of the hand-wringing over it, I don’t really care.

It would be a crushing thing if Parsons doesn’t get right, but especially without really knowing about the state of his knee, I’m going to proceed from here under the thinking that such things don’t have to be set in stone. Maybe what matters most is that this was the signing that Memphis needed to make, risk and all, and it’s still too early to be changing my mind. We’re half a season into a four-year contract, so yeah, there’s going to be plenty of time left.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

And I’m still trying to reassure myself that things can get better, but that’s how it can go with injuries.

It doesn’t seem like there’s much patience for him to figure it out, which is unfortunate, but when the Grizzlies feel things are so bad that they waive Troy Williams for Toney Douglas, I guess that means we’ve hit a boiling point of sorts. This is purely a guess, but I would think that the Grizzlies were very reluctant to waive Williams and only did so out of an immense, immediate need for steady ball-handling. Considering the unevenness that we’ve seen at times over the last few weeks, it’s not totally unfair.

I’m not sure Douglas is that good, but the Grizzlies tried their hand with Wade Baldwin, Andrew Harrison, and then even Tony Allen in that role, finding out each was insufficient before cutting Williams. It would’ve been nice to let one of the young guys bloom in the role while moving forward as a team, but presuming they have NBA stuff (of which I’m still uncertain with Harrison), those guys would still need help. It’s really too bad that Parsons could only compound the issue.

Patience is a difficult ask because when you commit $94 million on a contract to take Parsons through his age-31 season; that’s an all-in move. Now’s a tough time to win a championship, but with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley being where they are in their careers, you want to make the most of the time you have left with that window. The optics of Parsons’ flat-ass jumper do not help, so I get it.

I also understand that the rest of the optics are less than endearing, too: The boobs, the six-inch V-necks, the EDM and the vodka Red Bulls. Maybe I shouldn’t speak for (the city of) Memphis, but Memphis seems really pissed off about all of that. Miss me with the EDM, but IN MY OPINION, the rest of it is pretty cool. (Boobs!) Is it fair for me to opine that you guys should get over yourselves, and “being Memphis enough,” just a little bit?

It’s a toughie. Most of the criticism is also valid. If the Grizzlies made better moves in the past, it would’ve led to less challenging choices. Harrison Barnes has played better than Parsons, but that wasn’t the bet anyone other than the Mavs wanted in July. Evan Fournier has been fine, but he was never leaving Orlando after they traded Victor Oladipo, nor was Nicolas Batum (awesome) leaving Charlotte. You did not want to be the playoff team risking it all on the Hollis Thompson Sweepstakes in January—although Hollis Thompson is a potentially nice piece.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

I still believe that Parsons was the right call in the summer, and for the same reason—that the short-term is of value to the Grizzlies, too—I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the Douglas signing, if only because you’d really want to be sure before shuffling around bigger pieces for a back-up point guard at the trade deadline.

That doesn’t change the possibility that Troy Williams might be James Ennis Redux, or that Parsons might not get right. But that’s a dark acceptance of fate, and I’m not feeling quite there yet.

The Grizzlies do this every season, where they muck it up for 20 to 40 games of the season and you start to wonder where it all leads to. But if they can get right by the playoffs, they end up looking mostly fine, because playing like ass for 20 to 40 games of the season just seems to be what they do. Well, maybe they can still get where they originally wanted to this season.

I don’t know. Drink a vodka Red Bull or something, because that’s what Chandler Parsons would do.

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