Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens Hopes Parker can ‘Re-Find His Groove’ in Boston

Saturday, April 17 - Warriors at Celtics

Pregame – Stevens Hopes Parker can ‘Re-Find His Groove’ in Boston

After suffering two ACL tears early in his career, Jabari Parker has been attempting to get his NBA career back on track. The Boston Celtics displayed their faith in the former No. 2 overall draft pick Friday night, as they signed him to a multi-year contract in the hope that he could provide them with a scoring boost for the remainder of the 2020-21 season and beyond.

“Jabari’s been a good player in this league for a few years now, and he’s obviously had a rough couple of last stops,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Saturday evening of Parker, who, at age 26, has already been a member of six different NBA teams. “This is a plan beyond this year and we’re going to be patient in bringing him along. We’re looking mostly at him as a guy that can play some 4 for us, but also maybe some small-ball 5 in some lineups, especially around some of our better players as a ball-mover, as a passer, as a playmaker, as a driver, as a guy that can put the ball in the basket and is a real threat to put the ball in the basket.”

Over the course of 288 appearances spanning across seven seasons, Parker has put up admirable numbers of 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. That included a career-best 2016-17 season when he averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, before suffering his second right ACL tear at the young age of 21.

If he can remain healthy, the 6-foot-8, 245-pound veteran could provide a great boost for the Celtics, as they are always looking to add extra versatility at wing position.

“Right now, we can put a pretty versatile, long group on that floor,” said Stevens. “And just having more options, depending on who we’re playing, as we move forward this year, and then also next year, we thought that (signing) was a really good thing for our team. Hopefully, this is a place where he can re-find his groove. I think that’s important and we’re going to work hard to help him.”

Parker is set to begin his Celtics journey Saturday night, as he will already be in uniform wearing No. 20 when the Celtics host the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. As Stevens said, the team will be patient in bringing him along, as he only had three games under his belt this season with the Sacramento Kings. But the hope is that he will be able to rejuvenate his career in Boston, while providing the Celtics with some extra offensive juice.

- Taylor Snow

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