HOUSTON — A game against the Orlando Magic is never routine for Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons.
A native of Central Florida, Parsons rooted for the Magic as a youngster and starred at Lake Howell High School and the University of Florida. He even trains with Magic players during the offseason.
“It’s still weird for me to play the Magic,” Parsons said. “I used to go to all the games, and my family’s been a season-ticket holder since ’88, so it’s definitely weird. It’s more weird when I go there. Playing them here is still kind of surreal.”
Still, it’s unclear whether Parsons will play when his Rockets host the Magic tonight at Toyota Center.
Parsons, 25, has suffered from back spasms recently, and he underwent a two-hour acupuncture session on Saturday.
Other than those back spasms, he’s having a superb third season.
Parsons is averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, disproving the naysayers who predicted his numbers would take a nosedive with Dwight Howard as his teammate.
Parsons felt otherwise — so much so that he helped recruit Howard to the Rockets via free agency.
“I want to win,” Parsons said, “and I knew by adding Dwight that was going to give me the best chance to win a championship and play big minutes.”
Parsons is used to proving naysayers wrong.
Even though he was the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Florida, few people predicted he’d succeed in the NBA.
He was picked 38th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.
“I knew I could [play in the NBA] my whole life,” Parsons said. “A select group of friends and family [believed also]. With my size and my skill set, there’s not a lot of guys in the league that are 6-9 or 6-10, can pass the ball, defend multiple positions, score and just pretty much be that versatile guy on the floor that can do a little bit of everything.
“So, I’ll just keep trying to work at everything. I don’t want to be able to not do anything on the court.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.