Jabari Parker Is Choosing An Interesting Approach To Getting More Playing Time

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics - Game One

Jabari Parker is in a tough spot. On one hand, he’s worked hard to get back on the court after a second knee injury, played in 31 games and averaged 12.6/4.9/1.9 on 48/38% shooting in 24 minutes a night. A limited sample, but his Per 36 numbers were basically identical to what he was doing before he got hurt again and if you remember Jabari had a bit of a breakout year last year averaging 20/6 on 49/36% splits. Point being, he’s as close to his old self as he’s ever been, so I can understand why he wants to play. When you think about how the Bucks roster is constructed, he has a pretty important role as that 6th man. When Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe and Jabari are all playing well, the Bucks are tough to beat.

But on the other hand, Jabari’s seen his minutes nearly cut in half through the first two games of the playoffs. He’s down to just 12.5 a game, and while he thinks it’s because he isn’t on his coaches good side, I have a different theory. Maybe his coach isn’t playing him because he has been downright awful? I’m talking 1.0/3.0/0.5 averages while shooting 14/0%. On what planet should a player with that type of production get minutes in a playoff series? I get it, it’s hard to put up huge numbers when you’re only getting basically two shifts, but there are many more reasons as to why he’s getting benched other than the fact that his coach hates him.

For example, maybe his -53.3 net rating has something to do with it. Maybe his lack of defensive effort, resulting in a 122.4 Drtg has something to do with it. The playoffs are largely about effort, and when you have film on you that looks like this

I mean watch how he clearly gives up at soon as he crosses half court. There is no chance Al Horford is faster than him, and at the very least he could have fouled to prevent the dunk. Unfortunately, I see no one but himself as to who should be blamed for his lack of playing time.

This all comes at an interesting time, you know considering Parker becomes a RFA this summer. It’s clear he’s not happy, and the Bucks will have an interesting decision to make about his future. How high would they go to match? It’s not as if the Bucks have a ton of cap space, given that they pay 5 guys next year at least $10M. Even without Parker’s $20M cap hold, they still have $103M committed in salary/dead money next year. That wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that the salary cap next year is $101M. Is Jabari Parker worth the luxury tax penalties?

So I have to say, at such an important time in Parker’s career, where he is essentially auditioning for other teams who might have space this summer, there’s no way this helps. I’m not sure how he thought dogging his coach, that is clearly over his head would be the key to getting minutes. Allow me to suggest a different idea, one that will probably be more effective.

Just play better.