Jabari Parker is 23 years old and a former No. 2 overall pick. But two ACL tears have seriously halted his career thus far. That’s why he’s hoping a new start in his native Chicago will help him start to live up to that potential.
But these Bulls, fresh off a 27-55 season — their worst mark since 2003-04 — better not expect him to play defense. Per ESPN, Parker believes almost nobody in the league plays defense anymore.
“I just stick to my strengths,” Parker said on 670 The Score in Chicago this week. “…They don’t pay players to play defense. There’s only two people historically that play defense. I’m not going to say I won’t, but to say that’s a weakness is like saying that’s everybody’s weakness. Because I’ve scored 30 and 20 on a lot of guys that say they play defense.”
That’s just… false. Look, we all know Parker isn’t a good defender. And based on his own comments, he knows that himself. But to simply chalk it up to ‘lol nobody plays defense in this league’ is a strange and sort of worrying take. One that doesn’t stop there.
“…They pay people to score the ball… So, I’m not saying that to cop out or nothing. It’s the NBA. We’re professionals. Everybody scores. It’s just about limiting them as much as you can, trying to contain them… A better offense wins a championship.”
Even that’s an over-simplification. Yes the team that scores the most points by the end of the game wins. That’s literally how all sports work. Yet even the championship-winning sides have to typically field a passable defense on their journey towards one. Sure the Golden State Warriors have won consecutive championships. They also have four All-Stars in their starting lineup, two of which are former league MVPs, plus a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Draymond Green.
That is their STARTING LINEUP. Plus let us not forget Andre Iguodala and his two-time All-Defense honors.
Knowing that, it’s no wonder the Warriors also boast a top 10 defense. In fact of the four conference championship finalists last season, three (Boston, Houston, Golden State) had a top 10 defense. The Cleveland Cavaliers (29th) had LeBron James. So there you go. Your team’s defense can be absolutely pitiful if you have LeBron.
As it turns out, the Chicago Bulls do not.
Hopefully Parker can find his form, stay healthy and turn into the elite scorer some still think he can be. Because you’re surely not going to get anything out of him on the defensive end. And he’ll be more than happy to tell you that himself.