DALLAS – The chance to be coached by Rick Carlisle ranks among the more than 46 million reasons why Chandler Parsons chose to sign with the Dallas Mavericks.
That doesn’t mean it’s always a pleasure for Parsons.
“He’s persistent, man,” Parsons said. “He’s all over me.”
Carlisle would occasionally text Parsons a picture of the Mavs’ locker room around 7 p.m. this summer and ask where he was, a sarcastic reminder of the type of commitment and work ethic expected from a foundation piece for this franchise. Carlisle made a few trips to Los Angeles, where Parsons spends a lot of his offseason time, to work individually with the Mavs’ new starting small forward, much like the coach did last summer with Monta Ellis.
Those sessions focus on details such as footwork, rhythm and shooting mechanics, with Carlisle tinkering slightly with Parsons’ form to improve his balance and consistency. (“Precision things that everybody can get better at,” Carlisle said.) They work on the shots Parsons will get most often in the Mavs’ flow offense and the specifics of his responsibilities in Dallas’ defensive schemes.
“We’re working on all aspects of his game,” Carlisle said. “He’s a very good all-around player who has a lot of capacity to improve.”
Parsons, who also spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer to improve his strength in preparation of playing significant minutes at power forward, has steadily improved since the Houston Rockets selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Parsons’ scoring, rebounding and assist averages increased each season in Houston, rising to 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists last year. It’d surprise nobody if those numbers improve across the board again, as he’ll be much more of a featured attraction for the Mavs after serving as a role player for the Rockets.
Plus, Parsons is just entering his prime, turning 26 later this month. And, with all due respect to Houston’s Kevin McHale, he’ll be playing for a much more accomplished, creative coach.
Probably a more persistent coach, too. Not that Carlisle gets any pushback from Parsons.
“He’s an enthusiastic guy who wants to get better,” Carlisle said. “He’s a sponge and he wants to be coached hard. We love him and he’s going to be a terrific player for us.”