Ranking Chandler Parsons' Best Moments as a Houston Rocket

Jake Lapin@lapin_62094Correspondent IJanuary 16, 2014

Ranking Chandler Parsons' Best Moments as a Houston Rocket

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    Chandler Parsons is blossoming into a star with the Houston Rockets.
    Chandler Parsons is blossoming into a star with the Houston Rockets.Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Through his first few years as a professional, Chandler Parsons has had some special moments with the Houston Rockets.

    In his third season with the team, Parsons is the longest-tenured Rocket on the roster. The former 38th overall pick surprised everyone when he earned his way into Houston's starting lineup and wound up on the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2012.

    Parsons has continued to improve his game every year and has become a household name in the NBA. He is crucial to the Rockets' success because of his strong outside shooting and athletic ability. His dual-threat ability on offense helps Houston space the floor and create a tremendously efficient offensive system.

    Both on and off the court, Parsons represents the city of Houston well. He became a team leader during a dramatic playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, and he led the charge in recruiting Dwight Howard over the offseason. He has become a franchise player in Houston, all for a very low price.

    Parsons is still on his rookie contract, so general manger Daryl Morey will have to work his magic to lock Chandler up and keep him in Houston for a long time. Let's take a look back at Parsons' greatest hits thus far in a Rockets uniform.

10. Drafted by Houston Rockets 38th Overall

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    As you can see, second round draft picks rarely amount to anything valuable in the NBA. Stars are only found in the top five, solid players round out the lottery and some decent role players can sneak into the late first-round category. However, second-round stars are like diamonds in the rough. Chandler Parsons is one of those few diamonds who has played with a chip on his shoulder ever since NBA teams passed him up 37 times.

    In the video above, Jay Bilas said Parsons had the skill set, but he still had much room for improvement. Bilas concluded that Parsons was a "good value" for the second round, and boy was he right about that.

    In a relatively weak draft class, GMs league-wide must be shaking their heads and wishing they could do it over. Parsons was invited to participate at the United States national team minicamp over 23 Americans who were drafted ahead of him in 2011.

    In that draft, the Rockets also acquired Marcus Morris and Donatas Motiejunas, both in the first round. Morris was traded to Phoenix and D-Mo is at the end of the bench and on the trading block. The Rockets' final selection in 2011 turned out to be the most significant.

9. Parsons Goes Perfect from Deep Against Brooklyn

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    Back in November of this season, Parsons had a historical shooting night against the Brooklyn Nets. He went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, his only miss of the night coming on a free throw. Six of those seven shots were from behind the arc.

    Parsons' six triples without a miss were the second-most in a single game in franchise history. After struggling early on in the season, Parsons has caught fire from deep, and it was during that Brooklyn game when he turned his season around.

    Parsons' final three-point attempt of the game was from well beyond the arc. He must have known that he hadn't missed all night, but he did not hesitate to launch another three from deep territory.

    The Rockets won this game in a rout, 114-95. Parsons did not even check-in during the fourth quarter.

8. All-Star Weekend Appearance in Houston

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    Parsons put on a show in front of his home crowd in the Rising Stars Challenge.
    Parsons put on a show in front of his home crowd in the Rising Stars Challenge.Noah Graham/Getty Images

    Every season during All-Star weekend, the NBA's best rookies and sophomores take part in the Rising Stars Challenge. Chandler Parsons got the honor of playing in last year's matchup, which took place in Houston in front of his home fans.

    The Rising Stars Challenge gives fans an opportunity to watch the future stars go at it, and Parsons was deserving of a spot in the game. He started for Team Shaq and finished the game with 13 points.

    The game itself is a lot like the All-Star game because no one plays any defense. However, the in-game performance is not nearly as significant as the distinction of being selected to play and getting marked as a future star in the NBA.

    Parsons enjoyed playing in front of the home crowd, but he wishes the game would be more competitive in the future.

7. Career High in Points Versus Rival Mavericks

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    Parsons scored a career-high 32 points back in March of last year against Houston's biggest rival, the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets cruised to a 136-103 win with Parsons leading the charge.

    Chandler finished the game 12-of-13 from the field, including six threes, all in just 30 minutes of playing time. It was a career night for the second-year player at the time, and it could not have come at a better time—the Rockets were in pursuit of a playoff run, their first since Yao Ming went down back in 2009.

    Although he has come close several times, 32 points is still Parsons' career high. He is averaging 17.1 points per game this season, but when his threes are falling, he is capable of putting up big numbers.

6. The Tip Slam Master

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    Ever since his rookie season, Parsons has had one specialty play that continuously appears on highlight reels: tip slams.

    Parsons has mastered the tip slam, and he has shown off his athletic prowess and rebounding instincts time and time again. Whether it is during a free throw, over a seven-footer or even one-handed, Parsons will fly in at the right time and put that ball through the hoop with ferocity.

    Since his rookie year, Parsons has added a lot to his game other than the put-back dunk, but every now and then we'll see how Chandler Bang got his nickname in the first place.

5. Game-Tying 3 Versus Dallas

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    Parsons has a knack for coming up big against the Mavericks. In a game on March 24, 2012, rookie Chandler Parsons hit an off-balance three to tie the game with just over three seconds left in regulation.

    Jason Kidd was draped all over him, but Parsons was not phased one bit by the future Hall of Famer. He calmly lined it up and knocked it down, forcing a bonus five-minute period. Parsons finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

    The Rockets went on to lose in a nail-biting overtime, but that shouldn't detract from the clutch heroics by Parsons. Parsons proved that he could come through in crunch time, like he had on several occasions at the University of Florida.

    As you will see later in the countdown, the Rockets have gone to Parsons down the stretch ever since he proved he was capable his rookie season.

4. Christmas Day Surprise

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    This past Christmas, Chandler Parsons was hero both on and off the court. In honor of 10-year-old cancer patient Patrick Hobbs-DeClaire, Parsons shaved his head before his nationally televised game Christmas day.

    Patrick had no idea that Parsons would surprise him with this gift. What's even better about the gesture is that Parsons played a terrific game, as the Rockets upset the Spurs in San Antonio.

    Parsons finished the game with 21 points, 6 boards and 6 assists. He also had five three-pointers, four of them coming in the first quarter. The Rockets walked away with a huge statement win over their division rival.

    In the offseason, Parsons had a few gigs as a model. At most Rockets games, every time he is introduced there is a sudden outburst of young girls screaming. However, Parsons decided to shave his head for a good cause and by doing so he changed a young boy's life.

3. Putback Dunk over Griffin and Staredown

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    We already saw Parsons' high-flying acrobatics earlier in the list, but this one stands apart. This tip slam was early on in Parsons' rookie season, soon after he had surpassed Chase Budinger in the Rockets' starting lineup.

    Parsons came soaring in for the dunk over one of the league's most athletic big men, Blake Griffin. Griffin never saw it coming, but he did see what happened shortly thereafter.

    Following the huge slam, Parsons gave Griffin a long staredown to let him know who just put him on a poster. Parsons told Griffin with that look that he isn't scared of him and that he knows he belongs.

    Parsons was one of the few positives in a disappointing 2011-12 campaign for Houston, and he is the only member of the team left from that roster. His highlight plays and improvement as an all-around player throughout the season were exciting for Houston fans to witness, and this play stood among the rest.

2. Clutch 3 to Force OT in L.A.

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    On the final day of the 2012-13 season, the Rockets took a trip to L.A. to face the Lakers in a game with serious playoff implications. Both teams had guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason, but this game was to avoid the dreaded eighth seed.

    The winner would clinch the seventh seed and play an older San Antonio, while the loser would get stuck with the eighth and final spot and secure itself a date with the dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder.

    This entire game was a dogfight, and with the fourth quarter winding down the Rockets found themselves behind by three. They drew up a play but the Lakers sniffed it out and broke it up. With the ball loose on the floor, Greg Smith dug it out and got it to Lin. The last 10 seconds of the game were complete pandemonium until the ball wound up in Parsons' hands with one tick left.

    Parsons had a straightaway three from well behind the arc, and he let go a frozen rope. That line drive was the straightest shot you will ever see, and it was nothing but net. The Laker faithful fell silent, stunned at what they just saw.

    L.A. was able to collect itself and win the game in overtime, but Parsons had temporarily saved the Rockets from a nightmare matchup in the first round. The Lakers ended up getting swept in embarrassment against the second-seeded Spurs.

    Houston had a hard-fought six-game series against OKC, which you'll find out more about on the next spot in the countdown.

1. Parsons Helps Rockets Stave off Elimination

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    Houston was simply overmatched by Oklahoma City during last year's first round of the playoffs. However, when All-Star guard Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury, the Rockets were right back in the series.

    After getting blown out in Game 1, the Rockets lost two nail-biting heartbreakers in Games 2 and 3. No NBA team has ever come back from down three games to none in a seven-game series, but Chandler Parsons and the Rockets didn't quit.

    Game 4 played out similarly to the previous two, but Parsons was determined to keep Houston's playoff hopes alive. Parsons played the game of his life, and by doing so he announced himself to the world as a budding star in the NBA. His 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and one block were just enough to help Houston squeak by the Thunder with a 105-103 win.

    Parsons' refusal to give up lifted the Rockets past a much better OKC team. Parsons did everything, nearly tallying a triple-double. He was hitting threes from all over the court, and he wasn't afraid to drive on the best shot-blocker in the game, Serge Ibaka, and dunk it right over him. He played fearlessly.

    Chandler Parsons is now well respected around the league, and it's because of his podium game against OKC during Game 4 that helped the Rockets live another day.