Jabari Parker has been benched by his hometown Chicago Bulls, which speaks more to the franchise’s ineptitude than the 23 year old’s weaknesses.
Jabari Parker was drafted with the 2nd overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks out of Duke University back in 2014.
Coming out of Chicago’s legendary Simeon High School before his one-and-done campaign playing for Coach K in Durham, in which he’d been named a consensus All-American, Parker had been compared favorably to the likes of Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson and Carmelo Anthony.
The ability to create along the baseline, his floor vision and rebounding prowess, penchant for knocking down the long ball at a consistent clip and the handle to get past defenders off the dribble had folks salivating.
After a promising start to his pro career, his rookie season was cut short after a mere 25 games when he tore his ACL against the Phoenix Suns.
During his second NBA season in 2015-16 with the Bucks, the then-20-year-old, 6-foot-8 small forward logged a career-high in minutes with 2,408. He played 76 regular season games that year and averaged 14 points and five rebounds per game.
His third year in the league, he took the next step that everyone expected, averaging 20 points, six boards and three assists. But another torn ACL limited him to 51 games. A year later, he fought his way back once again from injury and showed glimpses of soon becoming a force to be reckoned with.
On April 1, 2018, he posted a season-high 35 points while snatching 10 rebounds in an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets.
With the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks fans envisioned Parker and The Greek Freak forming a dynamic duo. But after the franchise made Parker a qualifying offer after last season, giving them the right to match any offer sheet within 48 hours, they later retracted the offer, allowing him to sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls for a $40 million, 2-year deal.
But hometown hopes of a future Bulls dynasty with Parker as one of the headliners have spurted, stuttered and stumbled.
According to multiple media sources, his time in Chicago has just about come to an end. It would’ve been a cool story for The Windy City’s native son to come back and have a great story. But after a loss to the Orlando Magic last week, Parker hasn’t logged any minutes. And there’s speculation that he’s now on the trading block.
After being an integral part of former coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense, he no longer seems to be in the Bulls’ plan.
There haven’t been indications of Parker having any issues with new head coach Jim Boylen and his military style practices. It’s worth noting that the team considered staging a revolt over Boylen’s tactics, but there is no indication any of that rankled Parker in any way. Nor is there any indication as to whether this “benching” is part of a trade request by Jabari himself.
Parker is their highest paid player and, according to some, wreaks of a broken management strategy.
No matter how you slice it, whether this decision was made by coach Boylen, vice president John Paxson or GM Gar Forman, or if Parker himself asked to be benched, it’s still a really bad look for the Chicago Bulls franchise that’s currently the worst team in the National Basketball Association.
Various pundits have said that Parker’s benching is a result of his aversion to playing defense, which the Bulls and every other team in the NBA already knew since he was at Duke.
So, if he’s actually been benched for not playing defense, then it’s still the Bulls’ fault for trying to stuff a square peg into a round hole.
But, the question that begs to be asked is, if they’re really planning on trading him, then wouldn’t giving him more minutes amount to something of a showcase?
Yeah, but that would sound too much like right, and the Chicago Bulls have been really, really wrong for a very long time.