Chandler Parsons Medically Cleared, But Will Grizzlies Use Him?

    Despite a clean bill of health, Chandler Parsons won't be returning to the court any time soon. Parsons was medically cleared and expected to return to

    December 24, 2018

    Despite a clean bill of health, Chandler Parsons won’t be returning to the court any time soon.

    Parsons was medically cleared and expected to return to Memphis’ game against Sacramento Friday, according to Stadium NBA Insider Shams Charania. The team decided against Parsons playing and has decided to make him a healthy inactive “for the foreseeable future”, according to Charania.

    In his three appearances this year, Parsons played just 15.3 minutes per game. He averaged 5.7 points and 1.3 rebounds per game before suffering a right knee injury. In three seasons with the Grizzlies, including this year, Parsons has played in just 73 games.

    When Memphis signed Parsons to a four-year, $94 million contract in 2016, the team expected him to be the long-term answer at small forward. Despite a knee surgery, the Grizzlies still brought Parsons on at a large salary to add perimeter shooting. In five previous seasons with the Rockets and Mavericks, Parsons made 38 percent of his 3-point shots.

    However, Parsons’ injury problems continued. He suffered his third knee injury in three seasons in March after intermittently missing time throughout the season.

    Parsons’ knee problems are still present, but Memphis has remained healthy this season so far. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol have kept the Grizzlies in the playoff mix by simply being on the court. Jaren Jackson Jr. will be in the running for Rookie of the Year. However, the team could still use Parsons later in the year.

    Although they are the ninth-most efficient 3-point shooting team through Dec. 24, the Grizzlies have only attempted 27.4 3s per game. That’s good for 26th in the league. Memphis is also 29th in points per game. Couple all those numbers with the slowest pace in the league and Memphis will have a tough time continuing to hang with the best in the Western conference. Four of the five highest scoring teams are in the West, meaning the Grizzlies will eventually need to find some offense. Parsons could provide that additional scoring punch if he can stay on the court.

    According to Charania, Parsons and the Grizzlies could be headed to a standoff if the current situation persists. Parsons reportedly wants to play right away, while Memphis is expected to keep him on the sidelines. Because of Parsons’ contract (he’s owed $25 million next season), the Grizzlies likely won’t find a trade partner without attaching a significant asset in the deal. Memphis can’t deal a draft pick until 2021 and the Grizzlies aren’t going to part with Jackson or Dillon Brooks.

    The Grizzlies are likely going to be stuck with Parsons for another season, so it doesn’t necessarily make sense to hold him out when he’s cleared. Parsons can provide, at the very least, some depth for a Memphis team that struggles to score. The Grizzles are ranked 18th in bench scoring, according to NBA.com/stats. If Memphis wants to slowly acclimate Parsons into the rotation, a bench role would be a great litmus test.

    Parsons is Memphis’ ultimate wild card. The Grizzlies don’t gain anything holding him out indefinitely, especially in a tight Western conference.

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