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Show Me, Don’t Tell Me, Mr. Parsons

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Site Manager Note: The opinions stated in this piece are those of GBB Writer Darren Jeans. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all who work at GBB.

I can remember the day I found out we signed Chandler Parsons to a max contract.

I was at CiCi’s pizza with my roommates at the time. As I was downing my pepperoni pizza that was just little slightly undercooked, they broke the news to me. They were mostly exited about it. Like most fans. They thought he was the missing piece for Memphis. I didn’t say anything. I just kept eating my pizza. When they asked me how I felt, I said, “it’s a bad contract. He’s overrated.”

Since the departure of Rudy Gay, Memphis has not been able to replace him with another explosive, scoring wing. Enter Chandler Parsons. We were told he would relieve some pressure off of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. We were told our three point shooting nightmare was finally over. This was the first time in a long time that a free agent decided to choose to come play basketball in Memphis. So I can understand the excitement. The city was buzzing. Media outlets were booming. The signing was mostly welcomed with positive reaction.

However, as the great Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!”

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons is on a mission. He’s on a mission to reinvent himself. He wants to be liked by you, me, and every Memphian that roots for our beloved Memphis Grizzlies. So what does he do? He pens a heartfelt piece to us. He explains how once he met with the Memphis brass, he knew he wanted to be here.

Which, by the way, I don’t buy. I think we just simply offered him too much money to refuse. But anyway. I digress.

He explains how he had high expectations for himself, and this team. Then he explains why things went sideways. He explains that he did some things along the way that have hurt his reputation with the people of Memphis. He says he sorry. He says he will do better, play better, and give us his all.

Should we give him another shot? I think so. I believe so.

I want to. And I will.

But first, unlike most of the media that have completely wiped the slate clean for him, I’m taking a different route. Allow me to explain.

Personally, I’ve never seen Chandler Parsons as a max player. I understand he had some success in Houston, but outside of that, are we going to sit here and say he’s truly a max player? He’s a glorified role player. Which, in all honestly, is just fine! There’s nothing wrong with that. His best season statically came in 2013 for the Houston Rockets. He averaged 17 ppg, while shooting almost 47% from the field. That’s really good!

Notice what I said there. That’s. Really. Good. Not great. Not superstar potential. Just, really good.

With that being said, his numbers didn’t warrant max money level. Especially after his era in Dallas. He closed out strong. But he did absolutely nothing to make me believe he’s a max player in Dallas. If anything, he hurt his chances. But he got his money.

So let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about the money.

What have I heard all this week? “You can’t blame him for taking the money because you would do the same thing!” Wow. You are absolutely right. I can’t blame him for taking $94 million dollars that someone offered him. You know why? Because I would’ve done the exact same thing! Why? Well, I have 94 million reasons why I would’ve also signed that contract. So this notion that I can’t blame him for signing on the dotted line needs to die.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, we would’ve all done the same thing. The blame belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies organization. Shame on them for offering a max contract to a man who was coming off of two knee surgeries. This is a max contract! You don’t play the “hope” game with that contract. So the money? I’m not mad! I don’t blame Chandler for getting his money. Capitalism as its finest. Where we part ways is the responsibilities that come with signing on that dotted line.

That includes media responsibilities, public appearances, which are mostly optional, but they help the community get to know who you are, oh and you know, producing on the court. Yes, he’s been injured. I get it. But that’s part of the game. Do I blame him for coming off as not caring that he’s one of the highest paid players on the team, and he can’t even make it to the last media availability of the season?

Yes.

Do I blame him for posting pictures of him on vacation while the team is subpar at best?

Yup.

Right or wrong, perception is reality. To me, all of this is you running from your responsibilities by not showing up to answer why you weren’t there with the team. You know the hard questions are coming. So what do you do? Not even show up. It felt like he wasn’t a part of the team at that time.

Production on the court for Parsons has been below average, to say the least. He’s averaging about 8 points per game. Which are role player stats. As I said, I believe he is a glorified role player. Now if he were being paid role player money, I’d be pretty ecstatic about this. Like you, I’ve watched Parsons on the court. He just hasn’t look right. He looks to this point like he is struggling to move left to right.

His speed isn’t there. His acceleration looks below average. His shooting, the main reason why we signed him mostly, has been average as well. Mostly below average. I was being nice. It’s below average. However, because he has decided to simply say that he’s going to do better, we have this massive come to Jesus embracement of him all of a sudden?

Not me. Don’t sign me up.

Let me be very clear, I would never root for someone to fail. I don’t want him to fail. I want him to bounce back, prove me wrong, and make me write an I’m sorry piece next time, not him. That’s what I want. In my opinion, we aren’t going to get our investment back in full from Parsons. That ship has sailed. However, you’re telling me all I can get is 8 ppg?

But I’m the bad guy because I demand more than mediocrity. If that’s the case, I’ll be the bad guy. It’s time we stop being content with being just good, and above average. The San Antonio Spurs, another small market team, decided that years ago, and five championships later, look at them. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Don’t tell me wanting a title in a Memphis isn’t obtainable. If you don’t think it’s possible, then go be a Kings fan. I want more for this team. I want to exceed expectations. We aren’t going to do that by signing players coming off of two knee surgeries to a max deal, then embracing them after writing a “I’m Sorry” puff piece.

We all want the best for this team. I think this year with our new signings, and drafting Jaren Jackson Jr., is a start to a new direction for the Grizzlies. Is it a championship team? No. Do I think we’ve taken the first step towards being that? Yes. However, when it comes to Parsons, I refuse to fully embrace him because he SAYS he will do better. His track record says differently. This isn’t the first time he’s said that he will do better. To me, his tenure thus far has been nothing short of a disaster. Google his name. Look at all the negative articles that come up. They show him going at it with the Trailblazers, and CJ McCollum. They show him going at it with Stephen Jackson. Instead of making headlines for his play, he has made headlines for his off court actions.

At this point, it’s a show me mentality. I’m not here for your word. Do it. Don’t speak it. Most media members this past week forgot that. They read a beautifully put together piece, and were ready to embrace him like he was a lost puppy. Finally, I want the absolute BEST for Parsons. I think this is a good step towards fixing the mess that he created. I applaud him for doing this. I applaud him for stepping out of the box, and wringing this in the first place, regardless of how I may criticize it.

My point still stands. Good start. Now show me. That’s all I ask. Show me.

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