The Chicago Bulls have had plenty of issues lately and Jabari Parker is no longer a prominent part of Jim Boylen’s rotation.
The Chicago Bulls brought Jabari Parker back home as a free agent last offseason, with an idea he’d reach his full potential and be a big part of a fresh rebuild. He’s hardly been the only problem, but after Malika Andrews of ESPN reported the former No. 2 overall pick would no longer be a part of the Bulls’ rotation, Parker played just four minutes against the Sacramento Kings Thursday night in Mexico City.
The Bulls signed Parker to a two-year, $40 million deal, but the second year is an option the team will now surely not exercise. He has started 17 of 29 games this season, while Lauri Markkanen was recovering from an elbow injury, but in concert with Jim Boylen taking over for Fred Hoiberg and Markkanen’s return Parker has gone back to the bench with dwindling playing time.
After Thursday night’s game, even with Chandler Hutchison sidelined due to illness, Boylen chalked up Parker’s lack of minutes to the matchup.
Well, I think it’s a matchup thing,” “It’s also hard to play three 4s. It’s difficult to do that. You know, this team is not about one person, one matchup. It’s about the team, and you play your minutes when you’re in there, and when you’re not, you support the guys who are. We have a lot of games left, and we’re going to need all of our people.
Parker is notably deficient on the defensive end, and his own comments about players not being paid to play defense confirm his lack of effort to change that. But the Chicago Sun-Times reported Parker’s path back to playing time is through what he does in practice, especially defensively, as Boylen tries to create accountability and set a new level of expectations for a team that’s now 6-23.
A buyout of Parker is a faint and unlikely possibility for the Bulls, but other teams can assume he’s on the trade block. He’s averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds so far this season, with theoretical ability to play both forward spots, and he’s still just 23 years old. So another team could see a high-upside flier, if Parker can somehow be coaxed into engaging on both ends of the floor.