Consider the following statistics for three players.
Player A: 9.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 48% effective FG%*
Player B: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.8 BPG, 52% effective FG%
Player C: 12.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 50% effective FG%
If you looked at each of them closely, you may have an order of who is the best, second best, and worst of the three on this list. Personally, I would say B, C, A is my best-to-worst order, but no one really is that far separated from the others. All are probably role players on a good team.
Here, take a vote on which player you would most like to have on your team.
Who are these players you ask? A is James Harden, B is Anthony Davis, and C is Jabari Parker, all in their rookie seasons.
Obviously, plenty of caveats apply – they are three completely different players, in three completely different situations at the time they were drafted. This is not meant, at all, to compare Jabari Parker to Anthony Davis or James Harden; rather, it is meant to showcase the point that young NBA players need time to develop, and not everyone comes into the league right away as a star.
After being the second pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Parker played just 25 games before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of last season. That recovery process has drawn out into the beginning of the season, as Parker has not been nearly as strong or effective thus far in his second season as he has in the early part of his rookie season.
This does not mean anyone – including the Bucks – should give up on Parker yet.
Parker still has the potential to be a phenomenal talent, an athletic power forward who can score from anywhere on the floor and be a 20+ point per game scorer. He was compared a lot to Carmelo Anthony coming out of college, and I firmly believe he still has the potential to get there. He plays on a team that lacks a true number one scoring option (say what you want about Greg Monroe, but you’re not coming anywhere near a title if he’s your best player), so the opportunity for him to grow into the role is still there.
He has been performing much better as of late, averaging 11.5 points per game over his last four games while shooting a blistering 54.5% from the field. He is clearly getting more comfortable after coming back from his injury, and as his role in the offense continues to increase throughout the season, he should improve on those numbers even more. In the long run, Parker will become one of the better scorers in the NBA and could be a foundation piece to a championship roster, and the Bucks will be very glad for not giving up after a few struggles.
Parker may not be the once-in-a-generation talent that p eople pegged him as coming out of high school, but that doesn’t mean he won’t grow to be an impactful player for this young, contending Bucks squad.
*effective Field Goal% (eFG%) counts made threes as 1.5 baskets made, making this, in effect, a “points created per shot” percentage.