The Memphis Grizzlies just won a basketball game against a superior opponent...and Chandler Parsons was a big part of the reason why.
That sentence has not been typed anywhere near enough.
Yet here we are, basking in the glow of a renewed push to convey a draft pick to Boston this summer, one that was given a nudge in that direction by the much maligned Parsons. If it weren’t for Parsons and his six points in overtime against the Houston Rockets Wednesday night, the Grizzlies may be starring down the barrel of a Cam Reddish or Romeo Langford draft selection. We still may be of course, and no offense to those two players, but the Grizzlies would be better off moving the pick to the Celtics this season than trying to convince themselves that either of those players and others like them will be successful long-term pieces in Memphis alongside Jaren Jackson Jr.
Chandler Parsons, at moments, was the hero that we didn’t know we needed in such a noble pursuit.
Parsons has made life far harder for himself than he needed to during his time in Memphis. Some things, like his health and the injuries/surgeries that have taken a good bit of his explosiveness from him, are outside of his control. It appears, through German blood/knee treatments and various workout attempts, he has tried his best to get better and there is only so much that can be done to fix what you have already lost. Blame the Memphis Grizzlies for the contract they offered Parsons if you want - that is not Chandler’s fault, and he should not be condemned for signing such a deal.
In other areas? All the Chancun social media posts, asking various women on Instagram to show him their breasts, spending extended time in L.A. during his first stint out due to injury back when the Grizzlies were a playoff team were counter-productive. The list of ways that he...uh...cut himself off at the knees, is long but distinguished. He has earned the polarizing view of him that Grizzlies fans have, depending on the angle and prism through which you view him.
The Kubler-Ross Model, also known as the Five Stages of Grief, are quite fitting regarding Chandler’s time in Memphis-
- Denial. He isn’t really this bad. The Grizzlies wouldn’t have actually signed him to such a deal knowing he was this unhealthy. He will bounce back. He can get back to what he was. He will make the Grizzlies better, just wait...
- Anger. What a miserable dumpster fire Parsons is. Too busy on social media trying to see boobs to be bothered to get ready play basketball. Does he even care about the Grizzlies? It was all just a pay day for this pretty boy. He will never fit in Memphis...he isn’t Memphis enough. Screw him. I’m going to take a video with him, say he ruined my team, and post it on Twitter. That’ll show him!
- Bargaining. Maybe a team will want his contract when he is expiring! A stretch provision could work. It would limit us in free agency for a longer stretch of time, but Memphis has to overpay overrated players just to be a player in that market anyway. Parsons is here because of that sad truth in the first place! Anything to move on from that contract...
- Depression. I can’t even watch this guy anymore. He’s a black hole of nothingness. He eats minutes of younger players, he does so while being unable to move defensively, and his shot is flatter than a pancake. He has no lift on his jumper. NONE. ZERO. It’s such a hopeless situation. There’s no end in sight. He’s crippled our team...just crushed them.
Now, it’s time for all of Grizzlies fans to embrace, as soon as possible for each of them, the fifth stage of grief as we prepare, whether by some miraculous trade this off-season of a likely exit in free agency in 2020, to depart with the Chandler Parsons “era”.
That doesn’t mean you have to accept his personality. He made mistakes, and hasn’t shown real remorse for some of the things that just seem to be part of how he carries himself. That rubs many the wrong way, and the comments on the posts of women should be upsetting to all. He should know better, but either doesn’t know that or doesn’t care. It’s not clear which is worse.
He also doesn’t have to be accepted for the money he makes, necessarily, as long as the proper perspective is applied. He was brought to Memphis to be a bridge to a new era, the final piece to Grit and Grind, to help that group stay competitive while opening up the offense to modernization. He has not been anywhere near that, for whatever reason. That has indeed impacted Memphis in many ways, and will continue to beyond his time with the Grizzlies.
What should be accepted at this stage, however, is that Chandler is what he is...and Memphis needs him to achieve whatever goals they have moving forward.
In the short term? That stated goal is to convey the pick to Boston this summer. With the absence of Avery Bradley, C.J. Miles, Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr. - four of those players out being wings - Parsons will be counted on to produce. The past two games, he has - he’s scored in double digits in consecutive contests for the first time this season, and the first time since the time period of November 26th and and December 8th 2017 when he did it for four games in a row. They need that Chandler Parsons to stick around the next three weeks as the regular season concludes if they have any hope of conveying the first round pick to Boston now. They are only two games back of the 10 spot in the lottery, the L.A. Lakers, with 10 games to go. That is obtainable, and the goal is within reach...
But only with Chandler Parsons playing consistently at the level he has shown of late.
How likely is that? Keep in mind that he hasn’t done what he did against the Wizards and Rockets in 15 months. Being out for a variety of reasons - an inability to get consistent minutes, and overall poor play are all reminders of why we shouldn’t hold our breath. The fact remains, though, that Memphis requires this Parsons to be competitive moving forward not just this season, but next. It is not logical at this stage to eat the remaining $25.1 million he is due next season over the course of three years via the stretch provision. The Grizzlies should plan on having cap space in 2020 and make a run at the Jaylen Brown types of the NBA world. That is realistic if they’re patient and allow for the contract of Parsons, Miles, and Jonas Valanciunas to end on their own (although Valanciunas sticking around probably needs to be a priority for Memphis).
That means accepting the idea that Chandler Parsons, who needs the minutes and role and success to prove he is still a competent NBA player so he isn’t out of the NBA in a year and a half, is dependent on the Memphis Grizzlies. And that the Grizzlies, outside of an unlikely buyout of Chandler this fall before the season gets in to full gear, are dependent on Parsons making the most of whatever opportunity he is given.
The hope is that Memphis, which is once again proving through Joakim Noah and Avery Bradley that it is indeed the NBA land of opportunity, can rehabilitate Parsons to such a degree that he leaves the Grizzlies as a contributor to a successful rebuild. In that, he improves the chances Memphis has to be able to remain somewhat competitive as Jaren Jackson Jr. and others develop while also earning another NBA job, almost certainly for a year at the veteran’s minimum. That, though, is better than the alternative. Chandler’s good friend Joakim can tell him that.
The marriage of Parsons and the Grizzlies has been messy at best, and an unmitigated failure at worst. The time for anger and sadness over that reality has passed. Chandler needs Memphis, and the Grizzlies need Chandler.
It is just the latest in a long line of inconvenient truths Grizzlies fans need to accept.