Rookie of the Month vs. veteran PG when Mavs, Griz meet (Mar 03, 2017)
Rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell, a near-instant sensation since Dallas signed him to a midseason 10-day contract and then extended him for two years, should have extra pep in his step Friday night when the Mavericks take on the Memphis Grizzlies in Dallas.
Ferrell, undrafted out of Indiana, won the NBA’s Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for February.
The 6-footer has played 14 games with Dallas since being cut by the Brooklyn Nets and the Mavs are 8-6 in those games. He has averaged 12.2 points and 5.1 assists in more than 32 minutes per game.
“Guys here just continue to work with me and stick with me, and I’m just going out there and just having fun,” Ferrell told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after Thursday’s practice.
He has been so impressive that Dallas (24-36) decided to buy out veteran point guard Deron Williams to give Ferrell the playing time needed to further develop.
Ferrell is the first Mavs rookie to win the honor since Devin Harris in 2004.
“So well-deserved,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told reporters Thursday about Ferrell winning the monthly rookie award. “This recognition proves that there is untapped talent out there and that hard, enthusiastic play does not go unnoticed in the NBA.”
Ferrell’s tests keep coming as he’ll go head-to-head with Grizzlies ace point guard Mike Conley on Friday.
Conley has the Grizzlies (36-25) holding down the sixth seed in the West, but they are just one game behind the Utah Jazz for the fourth seed, which grants home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Memphis will be seeking a third consecutive victory after wins over the Nuggets and Suns, the latter of which the Grizzlies posted 130 points.
Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons would likely find Friday as good a time as any to have a breakout game this season since he left Dallas rather contentiously last offseason.
Parsons thought Dallas would offer him a max contract, but owner Mark Cuban decided against it because of knee injuries that Parsons sustained in each of his two seasons with with the Mavericks, who had hoped he would be a franchise cornerstone for years to come.
So far, Parsons’ replacement, forward Harrison Barnes, has been a far more productive player. Parsons is having the worst season of his six-year career, averaging just 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He’s shooting just 34.2 percent from the field overall and a dismal 25.9 percent from 3-point range.
On Thursday, coach David Fizdale told reporters that Parsons, 28, remains a key ingredient for the Grizzlies to make a push up the West standings.
“All I know is I see a guy in here really trying to help us,” Fizdale said. “And you better believe it — when he gets going, it’s going to be a huge lift to us. And I guarantee you a lot of people will be happy with him once that body starts moving.”
For his career, Parsons is a 37.4 percent shooter from beyond the arc, and in his final season in Dallas he shot it at better than 41 percent.
Because of the knee injury that ended last season prematurely, Parsons wasn’t ready to start this season with his new team. His Nov. 6 debut lasted just six games, and he didn’t return until Dec. 21.
Since then, Parsons has been on a minutes restriction, averaging about 25 per game, and he rarely plays in the fourth quarter.
A big game against his former team could go a long way to jump-starting his season.