Chandler Parsons and head coach David Fizdale are the newest additions to the Memphis Grizzlies organization. We haven’t seen much of Parsons as of late because he’s been making his way back from knee surgery after facing a torn meniscus. But he’s looking to make a big return in a new system with this Memphis team. Coach Fizdale after spending a lot of time with LeBron James back in Miami, is hoping to utilize Parsons in a similar fashion (via Tim MacMahon of ESPN).
“When I said I want to play him like LeBron, I do,” Fizdale said. “I really do want to use him, because there’s not many guys in the league at that size that have that skill set, and there’s no reason why I should put a cap on his abilities because his name isn’t LeBron James. I just see the same skill set. He’s not a high flyer like LeBron obviously, but he can pass it, he can shoot the 3, he’s huge, he can post guys and he moves great without the basketball, so I can move him around in a lot of different spots. I do not want to put a ceiling on him. I want to see how far we can go with him and put him in a role that is positionless. … I think all it takes is a coach showing that he has the confidence in a guy to do it and develop him according to the system and then it can take place.”
Now, I don’t know what skill set David Fizdale is looking at, but there’s no way in the world that Chandler Parsons and LeBron James have the same skill set. I’m not doubting Parsons’s versatility or his abilities but it doesn’t compare to that of LeBron. James is an all-time great with the capabilities of a specimen that man has never seen before. When I look at Chandler, I see more of a spot-up shooter that puts the ball on the floor if necessary, similar to that of Klay Thompson. In the 2015-2016 season, 48.4% of Parsons’s shots were taken without a dribble being used and 30.4% of those shots came behind the 3-point line.
The passing ability of Chandler Parsons is also something that I haven’t seen much of. When you watch LeBron James, you see a guy who looks to past first and score second. Nothing in Parsons’s game displays that. His highest assist average was 4.0 during the 2013-2014 season whereas James averages 6.9 for his career. Another thing that makes LeBron such an effective passer is the attention that he grasps. When he has the ball, all eyes are on him and with his ability to get to the rim, defenders are more prone to help. I don’t see that same attention coming from Chandler meaning guys are going to stick to their players instead of helping.
To use Chandler Parsons in a similar way to James is one thing, but to say they share the same skill set is something completely different. David Fizdale can play through Parsons and try to exploit mis-matches but I just don’t know how effective it will be. I don’t think he seeks the same attention and a lot of defenders at the small forward position can guard him one-on-one. Also, the Memphis Grizzlies have a veteran point guard who just got payed a lot of money that likes to have the ball in his hands. I’m not sure which way Fizdale will point this offense but it’s definitely something that I will pay close attention to.