The Houston Rockets have been one of the NBA's biggest surprises this year and, prior to the season, you'd have been considered clinically insane for believing that the NBA's youngest team would have a 25-23 record on February 1.
The addition of All-Star guard James Harden surely helped that record come to fruition, but one rather unsung player has seemingly come from nowhere to become one of the best young players in the game today.
Forward Chandler Parsons was drafted No. 38 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft and the Rockets surely got themselves a player that could have been drafted midway through the first round.
His performance this season proves that.
Through 47 games (all of which he's started), Parsons is scoring 14.2 points per contest while grabbing 5.7 boards and dishing out 3.6 assists. He's shooting a modest 46.8 percent from the floor while also making 75 percent of his free throws.
This has indeed been a breakout season in every sense of the word. Aside from his averages, he's reached career highs in points (31 on November 23 against the New York Knicks), steals (four on November 23 against the Knicks), rebounds (13 on November 21 against the Chicago Bulls) and assists (11 on January 26 against the Brooklyn Nets).
After recording just two double-doubles last season, he's already compiled seven in 2012-13.
This all adds up to a player efficiency rating (PER) of 14.6—a number that is right above being a league-average player.
When you take a look at others who were drafted ahead of him, it's easy to see that Parsons should have been drafted higher (though the Rockets aren't complaining, of course).
Based on the 2012-13 season, Parsons has outperformed the likes of Jan Vesely (No. 6 overall, 7.4 PER), Bismack Biyombo (No. 7, 10.0 PER), Alec Burks (No. 12, 9.8 PER), Tobias Harris (No. 19, 13.2 PER) and even MarShon Brooks (No. 25, 14.0).
Now, this only represents a few members of the 2011 draft class that he has outperformed. There are at least a dozen others, many of which were drafted ahead of him.
As a rookie, Parsons earned 2011-12 All-Rookie Second Team honors. This season, he'll be representing the NBA sophomores in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend on February 15 in Houston.
Parsons has been a solid contributor for the Rockets as an under-the-radar player this season. Playing on the big stage on February 15 should help to make him more of a household name, which should in turn help fans finally realize how valuable he is to the Rockets.
Houston got a bargain when it drafted him at No. 38 overall in 2011 and other teams are probably kicking themselves for skipping over one of the more underrated players in the NBA today.
Player efficiency ratings courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com