Former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons played the best game of his young career at just the right time on Sunday but unfortunately for him and his team it was not enough to prevent the Houston Rockets from falling below the qualifying line for the 2012 NBA Playoffs following a 97-88 loss in Miami, FL.
Parsons, who started his 57th game of the season, scored a career-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting in 37 minutes. He added six rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block as he showcased the variety of ways in which he can impact the game.
The 2011-12 season has been a whirlwind for Parsons, who entered the league as a second-round pick without necessarily the same high level of expectations that first-round selections are naturally encumbered with by fans. However, he has been a big-time contributor and often an impact player for Houston this season.
Parsons has posted five 20+ point games, achieved two double-doubles (in consecutive games in late March) and registered a number of impressive highlights including dunks and buzzer-beating three-pointers that have made both fans and basketball decision-makers recognize his ability.
“It’s been incredible – me being a basketball and NBA fan my whole life growing up, it’s so surreal to play against these guys let alone playing really good against them,” Parsons told OGGOA last week when asked about his recent highlights against Kobe Bryant. “I’ve had a great year. I’ve had fun doing it. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. It would be real special to be a key factor on a team contributing going to the playoffs as a rookie. That would be unbelievable and would really top off my year.”
Though Parsons will not have that icing for his rookie cake and is not expected to be seriously considered for Rookie of the Year honors, his contributions this season were impressive nonetheless. He even realizes that with some improved consistency (.452 from the field, .337 from three, .551 from the line in 2011-12) he can become a major player in the league going forward.
“I just got to keep working hard and get better,” he said.
Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press