NBA

The Downfall of Chandler Parsons

Feb 22, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons (25) reacts during the second half against the LA Clippers at FedExForum
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons has had one of the quickest downfalls in NBA history. He went from being a potential star player to someone who can barely stay on the court. Where did it all go wrong?

Parsons attended the University of Florida, where he played under coach Billy Donovan. Parsons was an efficient shooter while also being a solid rebounder and defender. He won SEC Player of the Year in his senior year at Florida. Parsons never stood out in college as being one of the best players, but he had all the tools to be a star at the next level.

The Early Success of Chandler Parsons

The Houston Rockets took a shot on Parsons in the 2011 draft with the 38th pick. He had an excellent rookie year and was named to the All-Rookie second team. Parsons broke out in his second year, averaging 15.5 points per game and becoming one of the best three-point shooters in the league. In his final year with the Rockets, he broke the NBA record for most threes in a half with ten. This was also a franchise record at the time. He also improved in his scoring output and posted a new career-high with 34 points.

Parsons was a restricted free agent in the 2014 offseason. The Mavericks offered him 46 million dollars across three years, which the Rockets declined. It was a fresh start for a budding star, but it was also the start of the downfall of Chandler Parsons.

Parsons suffered a lot of minor injuries in his first year as a Maverick, forcing him to miss a few games. However, towards the end of the season, Parsons underwent minor hybrid microfracture surgery in his right knee, which ended his first season as a Maverick early. Then about ten months later, in his second season as a Maverick, Parsons suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. This ended his season early again. 

A Career Cut Short

Parsons never took the big leap to become a star on the Mavericks and declined in both his points per game, rebounds, and overall defense. Therefore, the Mavericks didn’t do much to retain him in free agency. Two significant injuries to the same knee have to be unsettling to teams looking to sign Parsons.

The Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers ignored those worries, and both offered him max contracts. He ended up choosing to sign with the Grizzlies on a four year, 94 million dollar contract. 

Parsons played six games before missing 17 with a bone bruise in his left knee. Later in the season, Parsons suffered another tragic injury, tearing the meniscus to his left knee. Memphis announced he would be out indefinitely. His first season as a Grizzly ended horribly, but they were still optimistic for the future.

However, Parsons could never stay on the floor. He was missing tons of time due to knee soreness in both knees. Suffering three serious knee injuries in three years had taken its toll on Parsons. It seemed as if he couldn’t stay on the court for extended periods. He never got back to normal after those knee injuries and played a total of 95 games across three years for the Grizzlies.

In 2019, the Grizzlies traded Parsons to the Atlanta Hawks. This is where Parsons hit rock bottom. He appeared in only five games for the Atlanta Hawks. Then, when it looked like his situation couldn’t get any worse, it did. 

On January 15, 2020, Parsons was hit by a drunk driver. He suffered a concussion and whiplash. He endured a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation, and a torn labrum. These injuries, his lawyer said, could be career-ending. 

It is truly heartbreaking to see such a promising player’s career cut short due to something they cannot control – injuries.  As fans of the game, we are hoping Parsons can somehow come back from all of this and continue to play in the NBA. Fortunately for him, he won’t have to worry too much about finances. He was able to secure enough money through NBA contracts to last him for a long, long time. Parsons currently has a net worth of $50 million. 

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