Jabari Parker has been playing well lately despite falling out of the Chicago Bulls’ rotation for a month. Are we sure trading him is the right move?
The Chicago Bulls have been one of the NBA’s most embarrassing teams this season. Heck, they might even be the most embarrassing NBA team this season which is simply unacceptable. That title should be reserved for teams like the New Orleans Pelicans or the Atlanta Hawks – teams that struggle to fill the arena on a nightly basis.
Bulls fans are putting up with some horrendous basketball and still are second in the NBA in attendance this season. Can you imagine how much fun it would be if the Bulls were good?
That’s a relatively stupid question. Yes, it’s been a while, but Chicago knows what good basketball looks like. The fans deserve more, and believe it or not, Jabari Parker can actually play a role in getting Bulls fans better basketball soon.
Shortly after Fred Hoiberg was fired and Jim Boylen was named the head coach, Jabari Parker fell out of the Bulls’ rotation. Benching Parker made the front office’s decision to sign him to a 2-year, $40 million deal (with a team option on the second year) look like a disaster. The real disaster, though, is how Parker has been treated as a member of the Bulls.
From December 13 to January 11, Parker played a combined 18 minutes. During that stretch, the Bulls were 4-10 and three of those wins came against the lowly Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. Chicago barely gets credit for those wins. To put it simply, the Bulls weren’t playing good basketball.
The Bulls’ play during that stretch makes the Parker benching even more peculiar. What did the Bulls expect from Parker? Did they think he was going to be an All-Star this season? In all honesty, Parker has played exactly the way most expected him to. He’s been good, albeit inconsistent, on offense and bad on defense. The Bulls got the player they paid for.
The thing with Jabari, though, is he’s actually a good NBA player, he just isn’t good enough to make $20 million per year. But if the coaching staff thinks the team is better without Jabari in the rotation, then something’s wrong, because that’s simply not true.
With all that being said, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Parker will be traded before the trade deadline on Feb. 7. I hope for Parker’s sake that he ends up on a different team, but as a Bulls fan, why trade him? If the Bulls think they can get some valuable assets in return, then sure, go for it, but if all they’re going to get is second-round picks, then I’d rather keep Parker on the roster.
I’m guessing most fans are okay with trading Parker because the assumption is that the Bulls won’t bring him back for the 2019-2020 season anyway. But why not bring him back? Do the Bulls really think they’ll get $20 million worth of quality free agents in the summer?
Over the last five games, Jabari Parker has (finally) been reinserted into the Bulls’ rotation, and it seems to be working. Yes, the Bulls are 1-4 over their last five games, but that’s not on Jabari. He’s actually been playing pretty well.
Since returning to the rotation, Parker is averaging 13.0 points per game on an efficient 57.9 percent shooting from the field and 53.8 percent shooting from 3-point range to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He even has a positive plus/minus.
Those numbers are pretty good, but what’s most shocking is that he’s still barely playing. Over the last five games, he’s averaging a mere 16.7 minutes of action per game. With that being said, his numbers per 36 minutes during that stretch are absurd (28.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists).
I’m not saying Jabari Parker is going to be an All-Star someday or that he’s the permanent answer to the Bulls’ problems, but if the Bulls’ front office wants to give the fans some better basketball in the near future, they need to keep Jabari on the roster for another season, increase his minutes, and let him lead the bench unit.
So are we sure that trading Jabari Parker is the right move? No, not at all. In fact, it’s looking more and more like the wrong move.