* * *
How will Jabari Parker fit in with the new-look Chicago Bulls?
* * *
David Aldridge: It won’t be ideal and I’m not sure it will work at all. Neither is Chicago, which is why the Bulls have the second-year option on him. But it’s not a bad gamble. Parker’s got some real talent, and a one or two-year flier on him is fine for a rebuilding team like the Bulls. They’re convinced he can play the three. I guess we’ll all find out together.
Steve Aschburner: Good question. Adding talent is nice, especially if it can stay healthy (which Parker hasn’t). But Chicago already had some “fit” issues to sort out between Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, who played just 11 games together last season and weren’t great at sharing the basketball. Now the Bulls have added Parker, who also is a ball dominator. Parker didn’t always seem comfortable with his injury layoff-induced place a few rungs down in Milwaukee’s pecking order, either, so the Bulls need to make sure he doesn’t step on LaVine’s, Dunn’s, Lauri Markkanen’s, Wendell Carter Jr.’s or any other teammate’s development. And then there’s Parker defense, assuming you can find it.
Tas Melas: Offensively, fantastic! Parker is an incredible talent. What's worrisome is with Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, Wendell Carter Jr., Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio, it is unlikely Parker will play his ideal spot at the four. That means he’ll get most of his minutes at small forward, which will hurt Chicago defensively. That being said, the move is undoubtedly a smart one. With the Bulls under the salary cap floor, assigning cap space to a very skilled player who is playing for his next big contract, and in turn, could be flipped for an asset this season or next, is a good use of the space.
Shaun Powell: Parker's situation is perplexing. The Bulls are flirting with a log jam at forward, depending on how and where they choose to play each one. Is Wendell Carter Jr. a power forward or center? Lauri Markkanen small or big? Chandler Hutchison a guard or small forward? Parker brings much the same in terms of front-line flexibility, and somehow the Bulls must find a way to juggle the minutes. Competition will determine who gets what and Parker will get his chance to show he's worth a longer term deal.
John Schuhmann: Parker is best suited to play the four, which makes it a weird fit with Lauri Markannen seemingly set to hold down the power forward position in Chicago for the next several years. Of course, it's not clear that Parker is a good fit anywhere right now. He isn't an eager shooter from the perimeter, he's not much of a playmaker, and he isn't the defender that he could be given his size and mobility. But it's been said that a player needs 18 months after an ACL tear before he's 100 percent, and next month will make it 18 months since Parker's second tear (same for Zach LaVine). The jury is still out on what kind of player he can be, but Parker is still just 23 years old and should be better next season.
Sekou Smith: I think he'll fit in just fine. I've been blown away by all of the people willing to wash their hands of the 23-year-old forward. He's still just a pup in this league. Yes, he has had injury issues that would make anyone cringe. And there are pressures playing in your hometown that can be too much for some guys. But I believe there is still some of the bounce and fire in him that will make him a nice addition for the Bulls as they try to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff mix. He's got an excellent work ethic and hasn't come close to polishing off his game yet. I believe in Parker and Zach LaVine as building blocks for the Bulls' immediate future. Plus, they're both going into this season with huge chips on their shoulders, courtesy of all their haters. Motivation shouldn't be a problem for coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff.
* * *