When the Celtics signed Jabari Parker last week, it came with many questions about what he could possibly bring to another NBA team. The former number two overall pick has been on six different rosters over his short roller coaster career. Parker, 26, now finds himself looking to make an impact on a Boston Celtics team hoping for a deep playoff push.
The most important aspect to remember about this Jabari Parker signing is that it is low risk. There are many concerns with Parker, but these concerns should be tempered considering the timing and cost. The Celtics (and more importantly, Celtics fans) have to be patient with his output and know it could be rewarded with high upside potential.
So far in his two games with the Celtics, there has been a glimpse of what that offense punch could look like. In his first two games, he is averaging 9.5 points and 2.5 rebounds a game. It is modest production but enough to still show that he has something to offer, particularly to a young bench without consistent size and scoring in the front court. He brought it the first game with the Celtics scoring more points than he did his whole season with the Kings.
This was Jabari Parker’s best offense possession so far with the Celtics. He gathers the ball in the post with composure and pulls off a shot no one was ready for from him. This type of technique and savviness to create an opening like this is what does not go away even after two torn ACL’s. Parker was smooth and got the fall away bucket like it was nothing.
This second clip also shows Jabari Parker’s size and strength. Again, this is a skill that is not lost with time off the court. In three different times in this Warriors game, Parker was able to get a put back bucket after an offensive rebound.
Even with all the good so far, the biggest weakness in Parker’s game is his defense. It has plagued him at times and really has only gotten worse after many injuries and surgeries which have slowed him down a bit. When he is on the floor, it is something that could be an issue for the second unit.
Here, Parker gets turned around after over pressuring and ending up on the wrong side of the screen. At that point, Thad Young has a clear path to the basket with Parker trailing him. To add insult to injury, he then gave up a careless foul for an and-1 basket.
This play is only a small example, but it does show where he can end up occasionally on mixing up screens or positioning himself away from the basket. His goal needs to be using his size and strength to impact shots around the basket. He should even think to sag off a bit more just to not be out of position around the rim.
He has brought some offense to a bench unit that needs it, and that aspect can be hopefully replicated for the future. Things could change when Evan Fournier and others come back from injury. The minutes will shift around a bit with what Stevens wants out of the bench. A bench lineup with Fournier and Parker for the offense with three defensive minded young players is a formula that could carry the minutes while the starters get some rest.
All in all, it is great to see Jabari Parker back on the court healthy again. He looks to be fully rested and ready to make an impact for a team in contention. Everyone knows to this point how Brad Stevens is a wizard at unlocking the best in every player he coaches. Hopefully, it will be the same for Parker. He knows he can play a complimentary role with less pressure. It should be exciting to see what he can do for the Celtics in green.