Inside Stuff: Cowboy Baby

Chandler Parsons is embracing the cowboy fashion as he represents the Mavericks.

Everything Chandler Parsons does is stylish, even when it comes to busting out of a slump.

Parsons worked his way through an up-and-down start to the 2014-15 season, experiencing moments when he couldn’t miss and playing games when his shot simply wasn’t falling. But this past week he burst back onto the scene, leading the Mavs in scoring and reminding us all of the type of productive player he can be when he finds his range. That’s why he’s this week’s Player of the Week.

Chandler’s Week in Numbers
25.0 PPG (led team) 58.1 FG% 56.3 3PT% (led team) 1.5 SPG 2.5/1 AST/TO Ratio 72.6 eFG% 118.8 Offensive Rating (led team)

It was very evident that Dallas missed Parsons during Saturday’s loss to Golden State. Richard Jefferson put up a 13/13 double-double in his stead, but the Mavs weren’t able to capitalize off of the spacing effect Parsons can create when his shot is falling. Even if he’s slumping, defenses still must respect his outside shot — but during the past few games, he’s been on fire to the degree that defenders are now desperately launching themselves at him, which makes his already lethal pump fake all the more dangerous.

Parsons has also found ways to create for others this season even though the Mavs rarely ever run offense through him. Generally, Monta Ellis, Jameer Nelson, or another point guard will drive the lane and then swing it to Parsons on the weakside. It’s then, once the defense has already shifted and perhaps even broken down, that he’s at his most dangerous. Most teams don’t have a small forward who can put the ball on the floor and make something happen. Many are spot-up shooters, and that’s fine. But his ball-handling ability is what makes Parsons such a dynamic threat. If you close out too hard, he’ll drive right past you. If you don’t close out at all, he’ll shoot right over you. If you contest him once he drives, he’ll dump it off to a center at the rim for a dunk. He’s a classic Swiss army knife of an offensive player; he can do a bit of everything.

Parsons is known for his passion for fashion. Last week he even found time to partner with Stance Socks to debut his own signature line. Check out the video to get a sneak peek. He designed the socks to represent who he is as a person, so, being a Florida native, they feature a tropical look with flamingos.

We must hope that his lower back issues are resolved soon, though. Dallas plays just two games between now and next Saturday, which gives every player a chance to rest his body. The Mavs play a road back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday before coming back home next weekend. Word isn’t out yet on any type of timetable for his return, but it seems like Parsons is only dealing with pain more than any type of structural damage, which increases the chances that his day-to-day status will be lifted soon. Considering how red-hot he is from the field right now, let’s all hope that’s the case. He needs to be on the floor.

STAT OF THE WEEK10

The Mavericks are 10-2 against teams with losing records (below .500) and 7-6 against teams that are .500 or better. Dallas has played fewer games against losing teams than any other Western Conference playoff team, an especially surprising stat because the Mavs have played more games than every team in the league except Orlando. More than half of the club’s games this season have been against teams with winning records. The only other playoff team in the NBA which can make the same claim is the Miami Heat.

That stat, then, is two-pronged: The Mavericks have taken care of business against teams it should beat, but it also means the schedule will even out for Dallas soon. Because the West is so deep, every playoff team in the conference will play a very high number of games against winning teams. But for teams like Portland, which has played 16 of its 24 games against losing teams, that “schedule shock,” so to speak, will be even stronger.

Rick Carlisle and every player in the locker room would tell you that 7-6 isn’t good enough against winning teams, so at this point the Mavs can’t worry about other teams’ schedules. Jameer Nelson and Tyson Chandler said recently that the Mavericks are only concerned with themselves, and that’s the way it should be as the season is still in its early stages. A lot can happen between now and April in the West standings — you’ll seriously go crazy keeping up with that stuff every day, so don’t even waste your time. Dallas is worried about Dallas, and that’s a good thing.

After the Knicks/Pistons back-to-back this week, the Mavs will play the Spurs, Hawks, and Suns consecutively. Throw in late-December home games against the now-healthy Oklahoma City Thunder and Wizards and we have ourselves a difficult schedule the rest of the month. We’ll find out soon how much that 7-6 record will change. The rest of the season is going to not only be a marathon, but one run on I-35 in August. It’s going to be brutal and taxing and crazy, but it’s also going to be a heck of a ride. Get ready.

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