Jabari Parker has made immediate impact in his ten games played since returning from his second ACL surgery, and there’s no denying that. Averaging ten points and four rebounds, the Chicago native Parker has shown flashes of the skills that made him one of the biggest high school recruits in recent memory. With Parker exceeding expectations early in his return it was a bold decision by Coach Joe Prunty to leave him riding the pine late in the fourth quarter and all of the overtime period against the Pelicans when the Bucks clearly needed scoring. Instead of Parker, Tony Snell was out there for the final 6:32 of regulation and all of overtime giving little-to-no impact on the game.
In defense of Prunty the minutes restriction argument for Parker is a good one. With Jabari playing a season high 24 minutes in the loss its very possible that fatigue was a factor or management choosing to restrict his minutes. Because of Jabari’s recent play it’s starting to get hard for Bucks fans to be patient with the minutes restrictions Parker is currently playing under as he isn’t being played in winning moments with the starting group like against New Orleans. Could it have been a minute’s misplay for Prunty? Possibly, but it’s also possible it might not be a while before he is thrusted back into the lineup 100%.
Former Milwaukee Buck and Marquette star Steve Novak was quoted saying he believe that Jabari will be inserted back into the starting lineup at some point this season. . .
.@stevenovak16 – “There is no question he [Jabari Parker] will be back in the starting lineup. Off the bench he’s been amazing but there’s no question if the #Bucks want to go where they want to go he needs to start.”
— 105.7FM The FAN (@1057FMTheFan) February 27, 2018
Let’s set the record straight, I agree with Steve Novak that the starting lineup needs Jabari Parker to win a playoff series this season, but Jabari’s contributions off the bench come at an important time.
The Bucks bench would be struggling without Jabari Parker right now with the injuries of Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova limiting the scoring options for the Bucks off the bench. Jabari instantly gives an elite offensive scoring option for the Bucks that can dominate the bench players on opposing teams. In addition to covering for Brogdon and Delly, he normally is the first player off the bench for Giannis, which gives rest to Giannis who has been notably dealing with knee soreness in relation to how much he is being played. This makes Jabari very versatile off the bench, but when everyone is healthy the starting lineup may be the best option.
With a healthy roster, it’s a dream for a Bucks fan to think of a healthy Giannis, Bledsoe, Middleton, and Parker, four all-star caliber players in a small market that is hungry for a winner. This group of four is as talented as any in the Eastern Conference and there is a chance they could make some noise, but getting them assimilated to each other is crucial. While Delly is on his way back and Brogdon is still some ways out there is still an opportunity to get the four of them minutes late in games and that to me is the most crucial part of getting ready for tough playoff matchups throughout the Eastern Conference. It will be up to the Bucks to decide what the best route is for Parker heading forward, but I assume that a factor in their decision will be his pending Restricted Free Agency this summer. If Jabari plays well he could be a mainstay in Milwaukee and the group of four mentioned before could be winning a lot of games for the Bucks.