After losing the first game of a playoff series on your home floor, the smartest thing to do wouldn’t be drawing more criticism toward your game and the play of your team for the rest of the series.
Unfortunately Parsons has done so. In relation to receiving a question asking him who the better small forward in the series was, claiming himself has not only put pressure on him to succeed, but also pressure on opposing small forward Nicolas Batum. I wouldn’t have done so if I were Parsons, because we all know what happens when Nic gets angry.
Not saying that Batum will go for his Navarros, but these comments open a whole new chapter for the individual match-up between these two. A chapter that may provoke a more entertaining battle than the one involving point guards Damian Lillard and Patrick Beverley.
Both play similar roles for their teams. Each player resonates as a “glue-guy,” a player who holds the team together; one that hustles to take charges, sets screens, hits crucial shots, takes charges and more importantly overall, just wants their team to win. Each player’s regular season stats were eerily similar in nature. Chandler averaged 2.9 more points (15.9 v 13.0), Batum averaged 2 more rebounds (7.5 v 5.5) and Batum averaged 1.1 more assists per game (5.1 v 4.0).
Parsons confidence will only take him so far, however. Playing against Batum, a guy with arguably one of the most diverse skill sets in the league will challenge him the entire series. Parsons’ defense is deplorable in comparison to Batum’s, with Parsons having the worst defensive rating in the current series at 115. The offensive game of each player is about the same level, except Batum tends to be more reserved in how he approaches the offensive end of the floor. Unlike Parsons, Batum tends to be a secondary ball-handler on around 50% of offensive possessions down the floor, while Parsons is there to provide spacing.
Through two games of the current playoff series, each player has brought two completely opposite styles of play to the table. Parsons has become an aggressive scorer, who’s taking 5.3 more shots each game than he would in the regular season for a slightly worse result, only scoring an extra 2.1 points with the extra 5.3 shots he’s taken per game. He has provided a spark, especially in Game 1, where he had 17 points at the half on 7/10 shooting, but quickly faded away afterwards, hitting 4 points for the rest of the game.
While Parsons has become arguably too aggressive scoring the ball, Blazer fans would love to see Batum attack more. However, unlike Parsons, he’s added the ability to become the secondary floor general to his repertoire, showing the gap between the two as a better distributor of the basketball.
The level of experience between the two became evident upon Parsons declaring he was 100% the better basketball player between the two. In a playoff series that is fueled by motivation, the last thing you need is your direct opponent having an extra reason to get up on you. Move over Beverley/Lillard, we’ve all enjoyed the ride, but a new, heated matchup has taken precedence.