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VOL. 132 | NO. 45 | Friday, March 3, 2017
Don Wade

Don Wade

The Press Box: Chandler Parsons a Playa, Just Not Yet a Player

By Don Wade

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These are headlines you could not have read:

“Chandler Parsons on Four-Game Hot Streak for Grizzlies.”

“Parsons Knee Recovery a Medical Miracle!”

“Parsons’ Play Pushes Grizz to Next Level of Title Contender.”

All pure fiction.

Meanwhile, here are a few real headlines...

From Hollywood Life: “Bella Thorne Gushes Over Chandler Parsons at NBA Game: Savannah Chrisley Jealous?”

Inquiring minds want to know.

From Maxim: “NBA Stud Chandler Parsons Might be Scoring with a Teen Reality Star, and Her Dad Isn’t Happy About It.”

In this case “NBA Stud” has nothing do with Parsons’ 3-point shooting percentage, which remains south of Andrew Harrison.

From the Daily Mail in London: “A Thorne at His Side? Bella Dons Memphis Grizzlies Shirt as She Cheers on Ladies Man ‘Babe’ Chandler Parsons.”

Yep, all the news that’s fit to print. 

The Grizzlies, for the first time in their Memphis history, have a very public “star” problem. They have a $94 million investment that became a topic on “Access Hollywood Live.” It was there that Todd Chrisley, Savannah’s daddy, appeared on the TV show with his little girl to express his concern about Parsons, saying, “He’s got a great personality, but he’s an NBA player, so that being said … you know, they’re ho hounds.”

Kind of makes you miss the good old days when national sports media, if they mentioned the Grizzlies at all, painted them as limited and boring.

Now Bella Thorne is romping around in a No. 25 Parsons jersey, wearing it as a dress with black nylons and black leather boots. Definitely not boring, but a rather blatant reminder that Parsons is yet to do anything as eye-catching with a basketball in FedExForum as he has with his soap opera social life.

His All-Star Break vacation to Mexico with friends and playthings went viral as the traveling party wore “Chancun” caps. Naturally, this gave birth to #Chancun on Twitter, and some not so nice tweets.

Such as: “The (bleeping) #Chancun tin man” and “this is the difference between someone who gets paid like an All-Star and someone who works like an All-Star.”

But there were also supporters, those willing to strike back at Parsons’ haters, and also this just about perfect have-it-both-ways reasoning from one Grizzlies fan:

“Go have fun, get your mind right, make bad life choices, then come back and make good basketball choices #Chancun.”

That’s a trade we would all take, isn’t it?

Alas, at the first home game after all this on Tuesday, Feb. 28, there’s Bella in a blue No. 25 jersey. Fans are hitting Parsons with some jeers and then when he makes his only bucket of the night – a 3-pointer – the fans’ cheers are dripping with sarcasm. Parsons, ever the entertainer, answers them with a bow.

More than a month ago in this space, when Parsons was shooting 24.5 percent from 3-point range and moving like a man who needs to carry an oil can, I suggested that the Grizzlies perhaps continued to play him the minutes they were at the expense of Troy Daniels because of the difference in their salaries.

At this writing, Parsons is averaging 6.1 points per game (less than half his career average of 13.7 points), still shooting under 26 percent from long range, still getting his 20 minutes or so a night and still creaking along. 

Daniels hasn’t been great, but he also doesn’t look like a potential $94 million sinkhole.

Anyway, there’s now a chorus out there singing that the Grizzlies need to seriously consider sitting Parsons down and writing this year off. Glad to have you all aboard. 

For it really is time. For the team’s sake this season. For the sake of the three years still left on this $94 million investment. And for the sake of Chandler Parsons himself. Because somewhere in there is a guy who once played well enough to get this contract.

Perhaps in time he will return. 

For now, though, #Chancun is just a golden thorn in the Grizzlies’ side.

 Don Wade’s column appears in The Daily News and The Memphis News. Listen to Wade on “Middays with Greg & Eli” every Tuesday at noon on Sports 56 AM and 87.7 FM.

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