Kurt Helin

chandler parsons grizzlies mavericks

51 Questions: Does Chandler Parsons have the talent to change the Grizzlies’ course?


We continue PBT’s 2016-17 NBA preview series, 51 Questions. Between now and the start of the NBA season we will tackle 51 questions we cannot wait to see answered during the upcoming NBA season. We will delve into one almost every day between now and the start of the season (we’re taking some weekends off). Today:

Does Chandler Parsons have the talent (and health) to change the Grizzlies’ course?

For three consecutive seasons, the Memphis Grizzlies had won at least 50 games and were a tough out in the playoffs. They seemed just some shooting away from being a contender. However, last season the Grizzlies slipped to 42 wins, and there was one simple reason: Injuries.

The Grizzlies had 28 players come through their roster over the course of last season, an NBA record. Guys were going down faster than a Lord of the Rings movie. And it wasn’t just back end guys, key players out injured. Marc Gasol missed 30 games with a broken foot. Mike Conley missed 20 games with Achilles tendonitis (and still got a record NBA contract). Zach Randolph missed 29 games and looked like a guy losing his race with Father Time.

To change this course, the Grizzlies have turned to a man who had two right knee surgeries in the last 18 months.

Does Chandler Parsons have the talent to change the Grizzlies course? Yes.

Does Chandler Parsons have the health to execute that change? That’s what the Grizzlies are betting on.

Parsons brings more than a pretty face, he brings what the Grizzlies have needed on the wing for some time. First, he’s strong on the catch-and-shoot, and he is a willing shooter from beyond the arc — he shot 41.4 percent from three last season until his injury (for his career he’s 38 percent from three). When Conley is running the pick-and-roll with Gasol or another big (Brandan Wright, perhaps) opponents can’t help off Parsons or they pay.

More than that, Parsons is also a second ball handler on the perimeter for the Grizzlies. For years the shooters the Grizzlies brought in (who never quite panned out) didn’t have this dimension. Parsons can create his own shot. All the weight of shot creation no longer falls on the combination of Conley’s drives and Gasol’s passing. Part of the reason Parsons chose Memphis over Portland (for the exact same $94 million contract) is the chance to get the ball in his hands more often. Parsons is going to be handed the keys to the offense far more in Memphis than he saw in Dallas.

Finally, Parsons is also a solid defender, so that part of the Grizzlies’ identity will not change with new coach David Fizdale. Memphis has strong defenders in Conley and Tony Allen on the perimeter, Parsons will defend some threes and fours (depending on matchups) but has shown he can do this fairly well.

It’s easy to picture a Grizzlies team where Parsons is the key third offensive player that opens things up for Gasol and Conley. Parsons can play the three or a small ball four and that gives Fizdale lineup and matchup options.

With Parsons, on paper, the Grizzlies return to being a 50-win team that is a tough out in the playoffs. He may have a pretty face, but he’s a perfect fit for “grit ‘n grind.”

The only question is can Memphis keep Parsons and the rest of their stars on the court?

Gasol skipped the Olympics and reportedly is doing well with his rehab, but foot issues and big men are a scary combination. Was Conley’s Achilles tendonitis a one-off thing that needed rest, or the first signs of a guy who will battle this for years as his body starts to slow down over the course of his new deal? How much does Zach Randolph have left in the tank? A guy whose game has always been below the rim can age fast when he loses half a step.

Then there is Parson’s surgically reconstructed right knee. Two seasons ago he had hybrid microfracture surgery on it, then last season he tore the meniscus in the same knee. He has done is rehab and says he’s good to go. Still, is the knee stable enough to take on a larger load for 82 games?

Memphis could have looked at last season and said “it’s time for a total rebuild,” torn the team apart, traded for picks and young players, and moved on from grit ‘n grind. They didn’t. They finally got the wing shooter and shot creator they have been seeking for years, and they got the rest of the band back together.

Parsons has the talent to lift the Grizzlies up.

Whether or not his body will let him do it is the question.

Karl-Anthony Towns does get out the vote PSA for Minnesota

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Minnesota isn’t considered a swing state this election, polls show it solidly in the Hillary Clinton camp, but that shouldn’t lessen the efforts to get people out to vote. The goal in this nation should always be to get as many people as possible voting and involved in the democratic process.

Which is why Karl-Anthony Towns doing a get out the vote PSA for the state of Minnesota is a good thing (you can see it above).

Hat tip to The Undefeated for finding this.

However, in the article, I think writer Clinton Yates misunderstands history a little. He talks about this being part of a movement of athletes speaking out more on social issues lately and says he couldn’t imagine an NBA player doing this PSA a decade ago. As SB Nation’s Tom Ziller pointed out, back eight years ago when Barack Obama was elected there was a lot of political interest and involvement from players who saw a big stake in that election. This trend has been coming for a while. And it’s a welcome change from the “I avoid politics as not to damage my brand” attitude that too many athletes had for too long.



NBA unveils 2017 New Orleans All-Star Game logo

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Sorry Charlotte, but the 2017 All-Star Game is coming to New Orleans.

That will come with more and more fanfare as we get closer to the February game, but the first step is to unveil the logo for the event. Which is what the NBA did Thursday.


It’s not terribly different than the 2014 New Orleans All-Star logo, particularly in style and colors (the Pelicans colors). The main difference is 2014 was done in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, while in 2017 it’s more of a New Orleans ironwork border with the fleur-de-lis symbol in the background.

The NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Smoothie King Center, home of the Pelicans, and it will be broadcast on TNT.

Kevin Seraphin lies down in a pit of massive snakes. Of his own free will.

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Personally, I’m not scared of snakes. That’s not my phobia.

And there is no chance I would do what Kevin Seraphin recently did — he willingly lied down in a pit of massive snakes.

Seraphin loves snakes — remember a couple of years ago when he was with the Wizards he was disappointed when he lost his lost pet “Snakey,” who got loose in the D.C. area? Never found him, so far as we know. It’s D.C., so that snake is probably a well-respected lobbyist now.

Seraphin recently agreed to terms with the Indiana Pacers for this coming season. I bet Larry Bird loved this video.

Report: Sixers still want to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor


The fact that Philadephia would like to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor is about as big a secret as Donald Trump’s favorite thing to talk about is Donald Trump. Heck, the Sixers GM all but admitted it.

Today the Sixers added veteran Elton Brand to a crowded, but young, frontcourt. But they still want to make it less crowded, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports confirmed. Again.

The Sixers have had periodic trade talks this summer involving Noel and Okafor and plan eventually to move one of them, league sources said. Philadelphia doesn’t believe the two players’ talents are complementary.

They aren’t complementary. When Noel and Okafor two were on the court together last season, Philadelphia was outscored by 20 points per 100 possessions.

The Sixers reportedly would prefer to move Okafor — who brings good post offense and solid rebounding but no defense — however, there has been more interest in Noel. Just not enough for another team to make a reasonable offer.

Don’t be shocked if a deal gets done during camp (especially if another team suffers an injury to a frontcourt player).