For the rest of the month, GBB will be breaking down every Grizzlies player that logged double-digit game appearances for Memphis this season and what their games need moving forward. Welcome to the 2018-2019 Memphis Grizzlies Player Review series!
BY THE NUMBERS:
25 games played (3 starts), 19.8 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 37.4% shooting, 30.9% from 3, 91 offensive rating, 109 defensive rating, 8.5 PER, -.004 win shares per 48 minutes
SEASON IN REVIEW:
Chandler Parsons’ journey in Memphis has been a story filled with disaster, and it only continued this season. At the beginning of the year, J.B. Bickerstaff placed Parsons in the starting lineup at the 3, which was a total shock for a number of reasons. The Memphis Grizzlies had just signed Kyle Anderson to a big deal, so it was easy to envision him in the starting lineup opening night — especially since he was a permanent starter in his last season in San Antonio due to the injury issues with Kyrie Irving. In addition, Parsons no longer has the speed or athleticism to keep up at the 3, and his production is no longer starter worthy.
That experiment only lasted 3 games, as his knee flared up once again, and he looked even slower than before. He sat out for quite some time, before the Grizzlies announced that they were having Parsons away from the team. A golden gem out of it was his practice-tirade on Chris Wallace where he shouted at the GM to let him play and to give him a “mother——ing” jersey. Ironically enough, it was only the fifth-greatest thing to happen on Grizzlies Twitter this season, and I’m thoroughly disappointed that a bootleg t-shirt didn’t come out of it.
After the All-Star break, Chandler Parsons returned to the team and was in the rotation. He started out super rusty, as his jumper had zero lift. Honestly, I had no clue if he was an NBA player anymore. Then, he had a strong close to the season, averaging 11.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists on 36.4 percent shooting from deep in his last 12 games. In the process, he was a steady secondary playmaker off the bench, finding success in the short pick-and-roll and in scoring on all 3 levels.
Despite closing the season with his best basketball in Beale Street Blue, Chandler Parsons’ status on the team remains to be seen. He’s under contract for one more season, and there are multiple avenues for which the new management could attack it.
The Grizzlies could stretch the remaining $24M of Parsons’ contract, which would cut nearly $17 million off the books this summer. However, there would be $8.4M in dead money on the books for each of the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons. I don’t see the value in doing that, as the team won’t be in position to really capitalize on that free space. Maybe, they take on a bad contract with a first-round pick attached to it.
The Grizzlies could also trade him. In this scenario, I would have to imagine Memphis taking on a bad contract that has at least 2 years left on the deal. This outcome is the least likely of the 3, unless a team is interested in just buying him out upon the agreement of the deal.
Finally, I can see the Grizzlies just riding out the end of his contract. It’s pretty immovable, and it may not make sense to take on a worse deal, or to have Parsons to be on the books as dead money.
Regardless of the outcome, Parsons has proven that he’s still worthy of a spot on a 15-man NBA roster — something that I was unsure of when he came back this season. For the Grizzlies, he’d be a nice steady veteran presence that uses his high basketball IQ to produce within the offense. If he does get stretched, he could take a veteran’s minimum contract on a championship-contending team looking for a cheap veteran stretch 4 — teams like Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles (either Clippers or Lakers), or the Warriors could use.
What happens with Chandler Parsons this summer will be a huge storyline, as it has been one of the biggest what-if’s in Grizzlies history.