During Free Agency in the Summer, Chandler Parsons had his pick on who to sign with for this season. He could have signed back with Dallas, Memphis’ offer was on the table, and the Portland Trail Blazers were also in the mix. We all know that he ended up choosing Memphis, but he said that the decision was not easy, and almost resulted in a plane ticket to Portland.
Parsons talked about everyone in the Trail Blazers organization from the front office, to the head coach, to the two star guards in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Via Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal:
“They have a great thing going; Paul Allen, Neil Olshley and coach Stotts are unbelievable guys. Obviously you see how talented their team is with those two guards (Lillard and McCollum). I had nothing against them, I just went with my heart on this one, and I’m happy I’m with Memphis.”
Portland, who then shifted their sights to Evan Turner when Parsons denied the offer, could have benefitted greatly with the added shooting. Right now, Turner is averaging 6.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, and he is shooting 42.9% from three, but only averaging 1 attempt per game. Turner is still playing more of a Sixth Man kind of role, like he did with Boston, because of the playmaking abilities that he possesses. This move did make sense because a playmaker off the bench is something that every team could use. However, looking at the comparison between the two small forwards, doesn’t exactly favor Turner.
Since we’re only about seven games into the season, and Parsons has only played one game this year, let’s go back to last season. Parsons put up averages of 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game compared to Turner’s 10.5, 4.9, and 4.4. Sure, they seem to be pretty similar. One gets some more points, and the other gets a couple more assists. One of the kickers is the shooting percentage though. Parsons shot 49.2% from the floor and 41.4% from three while attempting about 4 per game. Turner, on the other hand, shot 45.6% from the floor and 24.1% from three while only shooting about 1 per game.
What exactly does this mean? Well, for starters, Parsons is much more efficient with his shot attempts. He’s taking more shots, making more shots, and still only getting about 1 assist less per game. The advanced stats also tell the same tale. Parsons had a 110 offensive rating and a 16.2 player efficiency rating, while Turner had a 102 and 13.6.
The Portland Trail Blazers are currently 12th in the league in field goal percentage, 4th in three-point percentage, and 3rd in points per game. For the argument’s sake, let’s say that Parsons’ averages will be around the same as last season. Well, if you insert him and take out Turner, both percentages increase, and the points increase as well. This adds even more fire power to a high-powered offense with two of the league’s most dynamic guards leading the way. We could have seen an offense that may have even been close to that of Golden State, but it looks like we’ll only be able to play the “What if” game instead.