Jabari Parker’s rookie season only lasted 25 games before he went down with a torn ACL, but the Milwaukee Bucks insist they saw everything they needed to see from their prized young talent.
“He knows how to play,” said coach Jason Kidd. “Averaging 12.5 points, 30 minutes. He can rebound. He can make plays for his teammates. So he had a great feel for the game. Now it’s just a matter of him coming back stronger, mentally and physically.”
The Bucks’ selected the 6-foot-8 former Duke star with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft behind Andrew Wiggins. Almost from day one, the team pegged the versatile forward as key to their rebuilding effort alongside second-year forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“He’s a basketball player, so no matter where he played, 3 or 4, his first step was just as quick as anybody’s,” Kidd added of Parker before he went down with a torn ACL that prematurely ended his season. “Being 19, he understood how to play. You could see that with his midrange game and also his ability to attack the basket. He never settled. He has a lot of good things to improve on, but he’s only 19 years old.”
Bucks general manager John Hammond sounds just as high on Parker as Kidd does. “He’s still scratching the surface. It was just a little bit of a tease. He has so much ability and so much potential to be a significant player in this league, and we couldn’t be more excited about that.”
During his lone season at Duke, Parker averaged a freshmen record 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in earning USBWA Freshmen of the Year honors. In a preseason poll of his peers, Parker was tabbed as most likely to garner Rookie of the Year honors before he went down with his season ending ACL injury.
The Bucks are hoping to have Parker back from his torn ACL injury by the start of next season.[Photo Credit: Keith Allison]