DALLAS – During their time together at Team USA tryouts, Chandler Parsons and James Harden smoothed over any harsh feelings they might have following the small forward’s move up Interstate 45 in free agency.
Really, who cares?
The Parsons-Harden back-and-forth, as well as a couple other via-the-media exchanges with members of the Houston Rockets’ organization, made for spectacular summer gossip fodder. But that delightful drama is totally irrelevant at this point for Parsons from a professional standpoint.
The preseason opener was a peaceful reunion for Parsons and his old Rockets teammates, including Harden. Much more importantly, it was an opportunity for Parsons to continue establishing chemistry and cohesion with his new Mavs teammates, including Ellis.
Not that any grand conclusions could be reached after a sloppy, choppy game that featured 81 fouls, 109 free throws and 48 turnovers.
“It's hard to get a flow when there's a whistle every two seconds,” Parsons said after the Mavs’ 111-108 loss.
The Parsons-Ellis pair, which didn’t have the luxury of Dirk Nowitzki (minor hip contusion) drawing defensive attention and spacing the floor, had some good moments in its first game action. Parsons scored 14 points in 24 minutes. Ellis had 13 points and three assists in 24 minutes but committed six turnovers.
The Mavs expect many better nights to come from their dynamic wing duo.
“They fit well together,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When Monta drives it, Parsons is a terrific spot-up shooter. Parsons is a good guy off movement. Monta’s 3-point shooting last year was very good, especially from the corners, and he’s gotten better over the summer. One guy drives, the other guy spots. One guy spots, the other guy drives. They’re going to fit well together.
“They’re both good runners. They’re both good passers. We want to keep the ball moving and keep a lot of guys touching it. I like the synergy on paper.”
Ellis plays almost solely shooting guard in Dallas, but he has the ball in his hands more than any Maverick. He’s one of the league’s best drivers and pick-and-roll ballhandlers, averaging 19.0 points and 5.7 assists per game last season.
The Mavs believe that the versatile Parsons, a capable perimeter shooter and pick-and-roll operator, will both ease the burden on Ellis and help create prime scoring opportunities for him. With Harden dominating the ball in Houston last season, Parsons averaged 16.6 points and 4.0 assists, numbers that will likely rise with his increased responsibilities in Dallas.
“He can handle the ball, make plays for others along with himself,” Ellis said. “He’s just a great addition to the team.”
“I feel like we’ll be very good together,” Parsons said. “Obviously, last year I played with a very good scoring 2 guard and Monta is very similar to that. He can go get his at any given time. I think we’ll both relieve pressure off of each other. We don’t have to carry the whole load. We have each other on opposite wings, and it’s going to make us that much harder to guard. You can’t really focus in on one of us, because the other one will hurt you.”
The preseason opener was far from pretty, but this could be a beautiful basketball relationship.