The late season knee injury that forced Chandler Parsons to miss the regular season's final six games and all but Game 1 in their first round playoff series against the Rockets robbed them of a fighting chance to pull up a postseason upset. With 10 players hitting free agency and Dirk Nowitzki aging, it also took away the one known quantity of Dallas' team headed into yet another offseason full of questions.
Parsons still doesn't know when or even what his surgery will be, nor who will operate on his knee, but he said at media day on Wednesday that those details should be out soon.
"I wanted to hold off as far as we kept playing and I didn't want to jump into anything and miss games," he said. "I wanted to be with the team as long as the team kept going so obviously now that it's over, I'll talk with my agent, talk with [my] parents, talk with the staff here and decide as soon as possible."
Placing any timetable would be "silly" without knowing the specifics, Parsons said, but he and the team are hopeful recovery time doesn't extend into the summer, because the team has high hopes for him headed into next season.
"This period is where he's going to have surgery and recover," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "There are going to be plenty of things that he can do to refine his game, even if he's not on the court going 100 percent. I've had long discussions with him about that. There will be no time wasted, and he will continue to get better and be one of the best young players in the game."
Parsons played 66 games in his inaugural season with the Mavericks, suffering through a slow start to become perhaps the most important player on the team during the season's final couple of months. His numbers dipped slightly from Houston, but his numbers after the All-Star break were exceptional, averaging 16 points on just 12 shots while shooting 49 percent from the floor and 40 percent behind the arc.
Time and time again the Mavericks talked about an increased role for the 26-year-old swingman going forward, something that could be seen in short bursts. A Chandler-Chandler pick-and-roll was a lethal weapon on the Mavs' offense in the final months of the season, and in a 135-131 win against Oklahoma City in April, Parsons was sensational with a 13-point fourth quarter where he shot 6-of-6 with a variety of scoring moves.
"I'm going into my prime; I think I'm ready," Parsons said at his exit interview, dressed in simple Mavericks workout gear. "This year was more of a year to get comfortable and get my feet wet. I had some big games. Next year I hope for a much bigger role. I want the ball in my hands. I want good players around me.
"I think we have a chance to make some noise next year. Like I said, this year was a little frustrating, mostly just health wise with the ankle and the foot and then with the knee, so my biggest goal right is to do whatever I have to do to fix my knee, no matter how long that's going to be."
A full recovery process will allow Parsons to "reset" his body, he said. Hopefully next season, he joked, he won't be overweight.
"Just more of the same," Dirk Nowitzki said, of what he'd like to see from Parsons. "I don't think he'll ever be the player where we give it to him and say, ‘Create a shot.' I'm not sure if that's his game. I'm not sure if that will ever be his game. He's great on the move. He's great on pick-and-rolls. He's a great passer for his size. Just doing more of that and being more efficient doing so."
Parsons can do all that. Next year, pending health, that's exactly what the Mavericks will expect.