All season long his team have patiently stood by Parsons and in a recent interview head coach David Fizdale reiterated his belief in the 28-year old. When asked about the Florida native’s consistent inclusion in the starting lineup despite his below-par performances, the coach said:
“Right now, the Chandler thing is organizational,” Fizdale told Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, “I’ve been taking a lot of punches for that and I’m OK with that. But that’s all of us saying let’s give it a look. This isn’t just me being stubborn. Chandler’s not my favorite. I don’t have favorites. I’m trying to win. But we see that Chandler has a ceiling. With Chandler coming back from injury, our best players protect him. You put him in the second unit and all he’s got is Z-Bo there, then he’s going to be exposed more. So, our best players are protecting him in that starting unit and allowing him to come along.”
The rookie coach presented a very logical explanation here. As Parsons continues to recover from two major surgeries on his right knee, it would be prudent to keep him as “protected” as possible. However, the patience of Fizdale and the Grizzlies faithful can only go so far. Sooner or later the University of Florida alum will need to return some value for his four-year $94 million deal.
The team from Tennessee are favorites to finish the regular season in either the sixth or seventh spot in the Western Conference. With just 16 games left before the start of the playoffs, they will need to make up their mind on Parsons. Fizdale can opt to continue starting him in hopes of getting him ready for the postseason, but this is by all means not a sure thing. On the other
On the other hand, the coaching staff can start to make changes to the starting five and bring in a guy like James Ennis. Fizdale can use the remaining games to build chemistry between his new starters and even give Chandler a chance to get his groove with the second unit. Either way, the Grizzlies will need to be as ready as possible for the playoffs with the looming prospect of a first-round war against the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets.