Former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker made headlines earlier in the summer when he inked a two-year, $40 million contract with his hometown Bulls. NBA.com’s Matthew Blum shared how this change of scenery will allow the 23-year-old to make even more headlines for his play in 2018-19.
After already experiencing two major ACL injuries, Parker has had nothing short of a rocky career path. As a reminder of how good the former Duke star can be, Blum calls back to his improvement after returning from the first ACL tear.
Parker showed rapid improvement and glimpses of becoming a bona fide offensive star. At 20 years old, Parker averaged 20.1 points per game and started to click with burgeoning superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Right as things were looking up for Parker and Milwaukee, a second ACL tear in February 2017 ended his season.
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Parker returned late in the 2017-18 season, and while he showed glimpses of what he once was, his role was no longer consistent. It had become apparent that with the rapid development of Antetokounmpo, Parker was no longer a necessity.
According to Blum, playing alongside a different rising star in 2018 All-Rookie First Team selection Lauri Markkanen will be fruitful for Parker.
With Markkanen stretching out to the perimeter, Parker has room to operate in the midrange — an area of the floor he’s comfortable in but was often clogged in Milwaukee. If Parker can increase his efficiency around the rim, he and Markkanen should complement each other very well and develop a promising inside/out scoring tandem.
Markkanen and Parker are just two of the recent lottery picks that make up a Bulls core along with Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and 2018 first-round pick Wendell Carter Jr. If these young players are able to reach their ceilings, there will be no shortage of excitement in the Windy City.