In returning from ACL surgery, Jabari Parker began turning heads leaguewide last year with a much-improved second half of the season, showing glimpses of the elite scoring machine he was projected to be pre-draft. Parker averaged 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game after last season’s All-Star Break, a large uptick from first-half averages of 11.3 points, 4.7 boards, and 1.4 dimes.
As we’ve broken down before, many fans and pundits alike expect Jabari’s trajectory to continue upwards, but it’s important to note that Parker is far from a star as it now stands. As I mentioned previously, Jabari hasn’t yet become weaponized in any particular direction of offensive repertoire.
"Despite what his numbers may seem to convey, Parker doesn’t yet have an aspect of his game that would be considered elite or polished besides his athleticism … Parker is almost limitlessly malleable at this point."
Jabari has up until this point made his impact offensively via off-ball cuts and the occasional dribble-drive. Developing a reliable jump shot, the likes of which he flashed towards the end of last year, should be near the top of his to-do list in terms of growth.
Much has also been made of Jabari’s lack of defensive acumen; his awareness on an NBA level is simply not all there and his pairing last year with Greg Monroe was a large reason why the Bucks’ defensive rating of 108.7 ranked 23rd in the league.
Jabari is certainly skilled enough to score and excel on his own in due time, but his fit with the Bucks is thrown into an entirely different plane when one considers his play with Giannis.
It’s no coincidence that Jabari’s uptick in performance coincides with the genesis of the Point Giannis revolution, and the numbers bear out exactly what effect the Greek Freak has had on Parker’s play.
Jabari Parker – since 2/2216
Obviously, it is vitally important that Jabari share the court with Giannis as much as possible, regardless of the potential problems posed by their consolidated shooting woes.
Jabari has all the tools and facilitators necessary to continue his growth upwards into one of the league’s best young scorers, and if he fails to reach that point, it will be through no fault of the Bucks’ front office.
Best Case: Jabari continues his growth and becomes an elite scorer, defense becomes passable
Worst Case: Jabari becomes one-dimensional, growth stagnates
Next: Point Guard