I have been tweeting negative statements about Jabari all week, and after his 20 point, 15 rebound finale Bucks fans may be hoping I have some positive takeaway from the performance that he can build on. Unfortunately I do not. After watching him play against competition on his level of size and athleticism for 5 games, I have nothing but disdain for his summer league play. If you’re a Bucks fan who prefers to think happy thoughts, it may not be the best idea to read on.
Statistically, Jabari did alright. He only shot 2/11 from 3, but he made 47% of 2 point attempts and attempted 34 FT’s in 5 games. He finished averaging 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 steals in 28.6 mpg which are all good numbers for a 19 year old. But I’m less interested in the stats themselves than I am how they were accrued, so let’s tabulate. He converted 24 FG’s inside the arc:
8 were in transition. 4 of them were breakaway dunks. 1 was a dunk after he blew by his man before the help defense was set. 2 of them were coast to coast finishes against Cleveland and he was fouled on one of them. The other was when he caught Phoenix napping on free throws by hanging by his basket and getting a layup with 1 second left in the quarter.
5 of them were halfcourt attempts at the rim. 1 was a dunk following an offensive rebound. 1 was him bullying Andrew Wiggins when they were isolated in the post w/ no help. 3 were nice attacks from the perimeter where he finished at the rim.
The other 11 were all mid-range shots. Most of them were ugly, off balance attempts preceded by too much dribbling. I believe he was fortunate to make as many as he did. Two of them were goaltended. This is also where most of his misses came from, although he missed some decent shots at the rim that were contested as well.
Let’s assess what talent went into creating these shots. The breakaway dunks are mostly because he is mindful to leak out when he sees the opportunity, and he also has the defensive instincts to pick off some passes and take it the other way and finish. The coast to coast attacks I feel exemplify his talent: he isn’t that athletic, but for a fat man he is fairly explosive and is comfortable handling the ball in the open court. These are baskets that somebody like Doug McDermott could never dream of creating.
This is further exemplified by his rim finishes. He didn’t excel at getting to the rim, but given enough attempts he got there a few times and was able to finish. Again, he has enough handling, athleticism, and scoring instincts to be a competent at creating and finishing quality shots on occasion. This isn’t exactly a foundation for offensive dominance, but it’s something to build on.
Bullying the 6’8″ 200 pound Wiggins was Jabari’s bread and butter in college, as some weaker opponents featured centers of that size and he beat them up and dunked all over them. Given that Wiggins is a SG/SF in the NBA, these opportunities dried up in summer league and Parker was only able to generate one bucket of this ilk. On most occasions when he gets matched up vs. a Wiggins type, help defense will be there to prevent it from being so easy.
His mid-range performance was particularly putrid. Parker would often catch the ball, attack, and when he could only get within 8-12 feet from the basket he’d launch off balance jumpers that normally brick. A number of them actually went in, but that was largely luck. He’s not creating 38-40% shots, these are at best low 30’s and sometimes even in the 20’s. Not to mention that he stops the ball and kills any flow of the offense to create these. He is big and athletic enough to get a number of these off, but they are such a horrible use of any possession that it’s a big drag on the offense if he insists on taking 5 per game. And it’s not like he can just cut these out and everything is peachy– these shot attempts are the opportunity cost of his attacks that actually made it all the way to the rim as well as his FT attempts. These shots aren’t only indicative of his willingness to submarine the offense by stopping the ball and taking poor shots, they are also indicative of his inability to create quality shots with any regularity.
Also a number of his FTA came from poor offense. Against the Cavaliers he was fouled on a couple of horrible mid-range shot attempts. Against the Warriors he had one foul where his opponent played perfect defense standing upright with his hands up while Jabari triple clutched and threw up a shot against the underside of the backboard and fell down. The official couldn’t believe that the #2 overall pick missed a shot that badly without getting fouled and blew the whistle. On another occasion Parker ripped down a defensive rebound, dribbled around for a while, and then attacked the rim where 3 defenders converged on him and one of them hacked him for FT’s with 11 seconds on the shot clock. While the outcome was good, he wasn’t getting anywhere without the fortunate foul and he took 13 seconds of dribbling in the process.
Further it’s a misnomer to call him a stretch 4. He takes 3’s sometimes, but he currently doesn’t take or make enough 3’s to be a spacer compared to how much time he spends inside or pounding the air out of the ball on the perimeter. He ran bad to only make 2 out of 11, but he needs to attempt more than two 3’s a game to truly space the floor. (EDIT: apparently this is wrong, since 1 3PA/100 possessions is all that is needed for bigs to space the floor. But his high ratio of poor mid-range shots to 3PA is currently looking like it will make it difficult for him to score with efficiency.)
Parker did show some willingness to pass. My perception is that he sees the floor fairly well and can tell when his teammates are in a favorable position to receive the ball, and he does enjoy occasionally setting up a teammate for an easy bucket. But his passing is also a work in progress, as a number of his passes ended up nowhere near his intended target for turnovers. And he still doesn’t pass nearly as much as he should, since he has a laser focused passion on getting buckets. He often decides to attack and shows no sign of reconsideration once he puts the ball on the floor. Consequently he finished with 7 assists and 25 turnovers.
I didn’t pay particularly close attention to his defense but when I did notice him on that end it was normally not good. He looks slow to rotate and his quicks caused him to struggle to stay in front of his man. Perhaps if I reviewed the tape diligently he wouldn’t look that bad. But given all of the energy he invests into his offensive game as well as his physical limitations, it’s hard to see him becoming a good pro defensive player and easy to see him becoming a sieve.
Ultimately it’s easy to see why Jabari was able to achieve such high RSCI and draft ratings: he is highly competitive with a superstar personality, a knack for scoring, and he’s capable of getting buckets from anywhere. But it’s also the same reason why he’s going to disappoint as a pro. I love competitive players, and it’s great when players like Marcus Smart channel their competitiveness to dominate defensively. But when Jabari gets mad and wants to win, he channels it by black holing it up and chucking awful shots, so his competitiveness works against him. While he is capable of scoring from anywhere he doesn’t have a single hot spot. And he creates cold spots by willfully launching the most difficult shots imaginable. Sometimes these go in, which make him seem all the more impressive when scouting him in HS/college when he has access to transition + bullyball buckets that make his overall stat line look good. So he gets 5 dunks, a 3 pointer, and an off balance Dirk shot from midrange as well as a handful of FT attempts, and he deceives observers into thinking that he’s a future NBA star. In reality he doesn’t really have a go to creation move. He doesn’t have Durant’s go go gadget arms, he doesn’t have Melo’s quick release, he doesn’t even have Wiggins’ super athleticism to create loads of space with step backs. He merely has the size, strength, and athleticism to get off a high volume of contested, off balance shots from mid-range that aren’t likely to go in. He still wasn’t the most efficient scorer in college, so as his volume of poor shots increases and his dunk volume decreases, it stands to reason that his NBA efficiency might get ugly.
Parker does have enough going on to become something, but I don’t think he’s a top 5 talent. While he’s decently explosive, his athleticism isn’t great and it’s largely offset by his lack of quicks that inhibit his perimeter defense and half-court creation. While his size and strength is good, he’s just barely big enough to play PF and this probably contributed to his deception. Much of his low level dominance can be chalked up to him physically developing sooner than his peers. His ability to score efficiently in the NBA largely hinges on the development of his shot making ability. But even if he becomes adept at making outside shots, he still plays an abhorrent style of offense that is not conducive to winning. He doesn’t seem to grasp that ball movement is a thing that matters on offense, and he also doesn’t seem to grasp that it hurts his team when he misses an awful shot or turns it over. As badly as he wants to win, he’s not going to succeed at it so long as he continues to go about it the wrong way. His style is the antithesis of what the Spurs do, which is a strong sign that it’s suboptimal. It’s nice that he’s a great rebounder for his size, but overall his non-scoring game isn’t too great considering his current lack of defense, passing, and floor spacing.
There is a case to be made that it’s just summer league, his teammates aren’t all that good, and teams are willing to let players play inefficiently to see what they have to offer. It’s just not a case that strikes me as likely to be true based on his college play. He started off by looking great in non-conference play: he was making his shots from everywhere, he was sharing the ball with his teammates, and none of his weaknesses were evident yet. But then he started to get exposed when conference play began, defenses became tougher, and games became tighter. Aside from the fact that his outside shots stopped falling, he started passing less and taking bad shots more. At first I thought maybe he was just adjusting to more athletic competition, or maybe he was just pressing due to being in a slump. Based on all of the reviews of his intelligence and feel for the game, I kept waiting for him to adjust to the tougher competition and adjust his game. It never happened, and by the end of the season I was done expecting good things from him. As a Duke fan, the toughest part of the Mercer loss was that I couldn’t place the biggest bet of my life on Jarnell Stokes and the Tennessee defense forcing Jabari into endless difficult shots and winning as a likely underdog. But instead Jabari turned on the cancer a game early when his teammates were creating an endless supply of 40% 3 point shots since he simply he had to get his 30% 2 point attempts off from mid-range. I was actually nervous that he was going to stay in college and ruin the 2014-15 team just like he did this past year’s team, so I decided to follow my strongly negative subconscious feelings and drop him on my draft board. Now that it appears that he’s taking the same hero ball approach to his NBA career that he did in college, I am done squinting for signs of change. Wake me up when it actually happens.
He still has some shot of becoming a useful fantasy player, but the combination of limited talent and horribly inefficient style of play is brutal for an actual NBA team that is trying to win. At this point I’d handicap his future to be something like this:
10% Carmelo Anthony
45% Glenn Robinson
45% Evan Turner/Derrick Williams hybrid
I would not take that player in the lottery. Aside from the fact that I feel I am stretching my optimism to its boundary by giving him 10% Melo equity, I believe it’s a crappy upside since I don’t think Melo is nearly as valuable to winning as his box score stats suggest. The other outcomes are completely worthless. Even though Glenn Robinson posted a 17.5 career PER, I don’t perceive him as a useful player since you need to be much more efficient than he was to black hole it up on offense, not play defense, and still make a positive impact. And if Jabari hits his downside, he’s contending for worst player in the NBA.
The only way Parker actually becomes a winning player is if he somehow sees the light and massively improves his defense, passing, and shot selection (which would give him value that the aforementioned comparisons lack), but he showed no signs of this at Duke and doesn’t seem that interested in it based on summer league. Perhaps he can be the one to prove me wrong, but I think this is just who he naturally is and I am not one to bet on a person changing his nature, especially not when his nature has earned him such positive feedback up to now. And even if that miraculously happens, I still don’t think he has crazy high upside like Andrew Wiggins would if he suddenly “gets it.” As of right now I feel that Jabari Parker was comfortably the worst pick in the draft, and he very well may be the most harmful player in the NBA in 2014-2015.
A few notes before Bucks fans hate and unfollow me
I assume I’ll get some comments like “cool out man, it’s just summer league.” My negativity regarding Jabari may not be fully warranted, he had elite recruiting pedigree, elite draft pedigree, and posted good stats at both Duke and during summer league. These signs generally point toward a player being good, and even the sideline reporter Alie LaForce was gloating about how big of a mistake it was for the Cavs to take Wiggins over Parker when Jabari went off yesterday (I’m a huge Wiggins critic but at this point I take Wiggins over Jabari in a heartbeat). But considering all of the macro information suggesting good potential for him, I just don’t feel it when I watch him play. I’m publishing this as a test of my scouting aptitude. I never watched Evan Turner or Derrick Williams much in college, but based on their stats they seemed like totally reasonable selections at #2 overall. But stats never tell the full story so I’d like to see if I can pick out these disappointments before they are obvious to the untrained eye. And if Jabari actually becomes good, at least I will know in the future that these signs aren’t a full fledged death knell. But I’m a gambler and I like going out on limbs, and this is the one limb that I really feel like going overboard on from summer league. So let’s see how it all works out. In the meantime I wouldn’t mind hearing devil’s advocate cases in the comments regarding what lack of negatives or presence of positives set Jabari apart from the Williams/Turner types.
joga bonito said:
Jabari has a tighter handle and more quicks than Derrick Williams. He appears to have more determination and aggression. If he can learn some old-man tricks to draw contact on his kamikaze drives his ft rate should help alleviate some of the ill-advised chucking and loose-limbed turnovers. Turner is so much smaller and less athletic than Jabari–I would be surprised if Jabari’s ft rate and paint finishing are Turner-level poor. He should also be able to get near the rim much more easily than Turner.
I agree that he looks as if he lacks much of a clue in the half-court, frequently attacking without a plan and ending up settling for bad, contested shots (maybe professional caliber coaching will help—coach k ftl). Defensively he’s probably not good, but he has room to improve and Sanders is a good pairing on that end to cover for him.
I can buy Jabari having a tighter handle, but I don’t see the quicks. If he had both he probably would have gotten to the rim more. I think the aggression is a distinct negative given out of touch he appears to be with his limitations.
Good comment though. Maybe he just is better at both of them at getting enough easy buckets to keep his efficiency respectable. That still doesn’t set him apart from say Glenn Robinson, but it does save some minor face for the Bucks at least.
joga bonito said:
I agree that the aggression is a negative now, but I’d rather he be aggressive than just Marvin Williams around 18 feet. At least in terms of hitting his upper 20%tile. He could flame out going this way too, but why not swing for the fences.
Only have stats for his last five years: Big Dog really sucked at getting to the rim, but was a great mid range shooter. Despite the tendency of olds to adapt and become less aggressive, he was probably similar stylistically in his first several years, because, outside of his first year, his ft rate was pretty static. Jabari strikes me as a guy that has a better chance of getting around 8 fta/36.
So it would seem that Jabari’s offensive success hinges on
1) Getting to the rim/FT line sufficiently to succeed
2) Not giving it back with too many turnovers/bad mid-range shots
3) Improving his shot making ability from all spots of the court, especially 3 point range.
That seems like a pretty wild parlay to me. But he can probably be Melo good if it happens.
Still think passing + defense are his real tickets to goodness. Wonder if he will get pointed in that direction at all.
Josh (@JoshsPseudonym) said:
I’ll just add that, as a Wolves fan, Jabari has ticked every single red flag (to mix metaphors) that would have told us what to expect from Derrick Williams.
Tweener 3/4? Check.
Too slow to guard 3s? Check.
Mediocre to bad defensive numbers? Check.
Played lots of center in college? Check.
Destroyed those overmatched centers in mid post? Check.
Needs ball in hands to be successful? Check.
Surprisingly bad A/TO? Check.
“Unselfish” narrative that doesn’t correspond with stats? Check.
Iffy evidence of good outside shooting? Check.
Like you said, for that type of player to be valuable, he needs to be an elite halfcourt scorer, and I haven’t seen it from him.
Good comment. I had thought that Julius Randle was the Derrick Williams of the draft but he at least tries to be unselfish. Jabari seems to have sharper spatial recognition but is a worse teammate. Will be interesting to see which one becomes more useful since they are otherwise v similar.
I agree with joga bonito – Derrick Williams doesn’t have the handle to operate on the perimeter so because he can’t create his own shot at all, he can’t utilize his superior athleticism. Turner takes a lot of mid-range jumpers because that’s the only shot he can get – if Jabari is an average athlete, Turner is an outright poor one.
Personally, I’m more inclined to err on the side of youth and think Jabari will figure it out. If he winds up as bad as Williams or Turner, it won’t be because he didn’t have the talent to be better. I also think it’s going too far to drop him out of the lottery altogether – ultimately I think true scorers and shot-creators like Jabari are the scarcest resource in the draft and teams have to draft accordingly. I actually feel the same way about Julius Randle too, despite similar flaws. To me, the floor of players like Parker and Randle is that they still put up points, just in an inefficient manner, and struggle to contribute for winning teams. That may sound bad, but there are so few impact players that come out of each draft that I personally think you have to roll the dice on that outcome. Going for a complementary player sounds nice but with some exceptions, the floor for most of those players is not being in an NBA rotation at all. Taking a player whose ceiling is a role player is how Wes Johnson gets drafted over DeMarcus Cousins. Now in this draft, there’s enough talent that I could see the argument for sliding Parker a little bit (although I still would take him top 3 personally), but out of the lottery seems like a stretch.
I just don’t see Randle and Parker as guys with big scoring upside. To me the big time scoring prospect of the draft who piques my interest is TJ Warren.
Even though players like Carmelo Anthony are valued immensely in the NBA, it doesn’t mean that they should be. Watch the Spurs’ offense and then watch Jabari highlights and tell me how similar you think they look. Everybody should be striving in the Spurs-ward direction and Jabari is a big step away from it.
Wes Johnson was obviously a terrible pick, but that doesn’t mean that non-scoring prospects are bad in general. If they had taken Gordon Hayward or Paul George instead it would be looking quite alright right now.
joga bonito said:
Spurs offense is what it is because Parker/Manu/Diaw create holes in the defense that their superior spacing, ball movement, and shooters can exploit. A team full of Mills/Bellineli/Green and other great role players in the Spurs system isn’t going to be nearly as effective. You can’t take a step in the Spurs-ward direction without having at least one, probably two, and most likely three elite perimeter creators/guys that can’t beat their man off the dribble.
You also can’t take a step in the Spurs ward direction if you have a player who struggles to beat his man off the dribble, but dribbles a ton anyway and usually errs on the side of taking a bad shot instead of passing.
I get that shot creation is valuable, but I’m not a buyer of the Jabari Parker brand of shot creation.
Salt and Batteries said:
“but for a fat man he is fairly explosive.”
This could be the opening line of a novel.
Josh (@JoshsPseudonym) said:
One more, sir? Eet is waffer theen.
Also an apt description of the opening scene of the movie “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’ (RIP PSH)
Worst player in the draft?
explain this comment for the Bucks fan leaving this page furious.( im not one of them)
I said worst pick. With all of Embiid, Exum, Gordon, and Smart available it seems particularly bad. I still would also take them over Wiggins, but I think Wiggins at least has a basic argument for going ahead of some of those guys.
He can be the worst player in the NBA because he takes on such a high volume of offense and doesn’t bring much defensively. There may be more limited players who do less to hurt their team via trying hard on defense and trying to limit mistakes on offense.
Lol, could you imagine Exum and Giannis on the same team. Soooo long at two important positions and the ball movement would be awesome.
Jabari at SF makes little sense in today’s NBA. Probably would turn into a nasty combination of ball stopping, inefficient midrange jumpers and porous defense. I’ve said for a while Jabari was born in the wrong era to play SF, in the 80s everyone loved an oversized 3 who put up 20ppg by posting guys up for off balance 15 footers. He’s like how in the movie “21 Jump Street” Channing Tatum’s dumb jock type isn’t cool anymore when he goes back to high school
With that said at the 4 he can still have value. Even Jabari’s shooting will likely space the floor, he’s still big enough to muscle some PFs and his rebounding should be fine for a 4. Jabari’s college production for a freshman and analytics generally liking him are good signs. He’ll likely reach what his talent is and push his way into a productive career. I’m calling somewhere between Antoine Walker and Al Harrington. I think 7th or 8th best prospect in the draft is about right for him. ‘Toine still had a pretty good career.
Toine was a willing passer and almost never shot from mid-range. Nylon calculus recently had a pretty good article about him. He was a chucker, but he at least showed discretion with regard to the spots from which he chucked!
The way you describe him, as a black-hole, [inefficient] shot-chucker who doesn’t play defense but is good on the boards and useful in fantasy, the comparison who keeps coming to mind is Rudy Gay minus the athleticism. Is that a fair comp for his future outlook?
Anyways, very well-written piece. Absolutely love it. I wavered a bit on my having him #7 on my final big board because of this Grantland article illustrating the top prospects’ shot charts (http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-nba-draft-illustrated-shot-charts-for-the-lottery-picks/). I had the impression from watching him that he chucked mid-range shots like no other, but that chart painted a very different picture — that Wiggins was actually the inefficient chucker and Parker was smart with his shot-selection, either taking the 3 or getting to the rim. Of course, Summer League has now made it look like both of them are very bad at picking their shots, settling for 10-20-footers waaaay more than they should. But yeah, that’s about all I have. Great read.
Those shot charts are so misleading. It’s really not what is tabulated but how it’s done.
I gave Wiggins a lot of crap for his rim finishing and this called it all into question. This forced me to be specific that his rim finishing was only bad off the dribble, but this tidbit throws a huge damper on the 60% of the inordinately large rim area that Wiggins shot from.
All of Parker’s shots coming from within 8 feet could make him look like a Houston Rockets superstar, but for a 6’8″ center, it just means he’s a bully. He just gets as close as possible and then he shoots.
The #1 thing I have learned from summer league is that every prospect has such a different interior scoring style that it never translates remotely the same. Stats can be sexy but what really matters is who accrues them in the right way.
I’d just like to point out that Glenn Robinson averaged, over eight years with the Bucks, 21.1p/6.2r/2.8a/1.2s on .463/.340/.812 shooting (.531 TS%) with 28.1 USG%. So while I agree Bucks fans may be somewhat disappointed if Parker amounts to nothing more than Big Dog 2.0 (he wasn’t a superstar, after all), that is a far cry from being “completely worthless.” You might consider less hyperbole when trying to come off as erudite, otherwise it just looks like you’ll go to any length to state your case. On that note – “I was actually nervous that [Parker] was going to stay in college and ruin the 2014-15 [Duke] team just like he did this past year’s team, so I decided to follow my strongly negative subconscious feelings and drop him on my draft board” – really?! It almost seems like you’re mostly interested in using your observations/analysis as a means to advance a personal vendetta of sorts. Maybe you’ll ultimately be right, but can’t you prophesy without being a dick?
Lastly, and I know you have already addressed this above, but it just seems strange to draw such strong conclusions after only five games of play, against Summer League competition no less, and in the context of the Bucks’ horrible SL roster, to boot. I mean, you observe that Parker was selfish but then (apparently) fail to consider perhaps that (working on iso-sets, dribble-drives, handle, etc.) was part of the plan with only two or three other NBA players on the roster. He (like most rookies) struggled with his shot and efficiency, but unlike many other rookies, he played on not only a supremely bad team but also a completely new coaching staff. Anyway, getting back to your preemptive rebuttal, as stated above, I don’t really understand how anything we saw during SL, considering these contexts, could drive you to conclude Parker is now likely to be an awful player, when two weeks ago he was your #6 prospect.
It’s not a personal vendetta. I was completely open minded to the idea of Jabari being an actually good player all season long. I actually thought he’d be legit good entering conference play. But then I kinda started to realize he was a chucker and somewhat lacking in awareness of his impact on Duke’s odds of winning. I wasn’t really sure whether to make a big deal of it or not but it started weighing heavier and heavier on me and after watching summer league I’m starting to feel that it’s a really big deal. I had him as a #6 prospect because I wasn’t feeling quite confident enough to take tooo much shorty equity in a top 2 pick.
I watched summer league from a different frame of mind than I watched NCAA, and it made me feel like I am finally ready to commit to a firm position on Jabari. It is definitely possible that I’m overreacting, but I don’t see any point in hiding my true feelings.
I don’t think Glenn Robinson is a helpful NBA player. He doesn’t play defense and while he scores a lot, he doesn’t do so efficiently or in a way that is healthy for the team as a whole. There’s this perception that shot creation inherently is good, but I don’t think it’s universally true. If it requires stopping ball movement by taking 10 dribbles to isolate and take a poor shot. It’s very difficult to build around these molds. You can’t run a Spurs style offense when the ball doesn’t move crisply, so the gain isn’t worth the opportunity cost. Perhaps I could have made this hypothesis more clear, but I don’t see a reason to place any value whatsoever on the ball stopping style of scoring unless it is done so at a highly efficient rate.
So when the main appeal of a prospect is this brand of scoring, that’s a major turn off to me. Jabari isn’t much of a passer and he probably won’t be good on defense, so inefficient scoring that IMO adversely affects his offense and rebounding isn’t enough to make him a desirable prospect in my eyes.
Like Glenn Robinson, he still might be a perfectly fine fantasy player. But I’m not feeling him as a player who helps his team win games. He’s too anti-Spurs.
Again, my main complaint is how you can draw the conclusion that your concerns of him, developed over the course of the college season, are convincingly validated by Parker’s 28 mpg over five Summer League games, in a relatively disorganized setting in general, on a terrible (even by SL standards) roster, with a brand new coaching staff that hadn’t had any time to instill a system or even organize itself, and that may or may not have had specific things it directed Parker (and other players) to work on. I concede your criticisms are largely valid, if you consider what we saw as a preview of what we’ll get; I just contend the likelihood, let alone certainty, of the latter at this point.
I also understand more now why you hate the game of somebody like Glenn Robinson. It seems like unless something jives with the 2014 Spurs, it’s not any good. That seems a bit narrow, if you ask me. (I’d also point out, somewhat ironically, that Robinson won a title with the 2005 Spurs.)
I get why it sounds overreactive to summer league. He really wasn’t THAT bad during it when you look at the bottom line. But every other prospect had that excuse and it felt like Jabari was consistently taking the worst shots of any of the guys I watched closely, and he was racking up turnovers to boot.
It’s definitely possible that I’m overreacting. Honestly this is moreso an idea I’d like to highlight rather than Jabari proving to be worse than I expected. I still haven’t perfected my process and I still am generating new ideas to test out and I’m obviously kinda excited for this idea. Maybe it sucks though 🙂
I try not to be that narrow such that every player MUST jive with the spurs. I get that there is only one Popovich and some teams are going to try different ways of being successful. But teams are getting increasingly smart wrt coach hiring and I think the league is trending in the Spurs-ward direction. The bar for intelligent play is rapidly getting raised and I think Jabari’s style will be much further behind the curve from 2014-2025 than Big Dog’s was from 1994-2005. And if you are going to make the Spurs style of offense impossible by ball stopping, at least do it at a reasonable efficiency like Melo.
In that respect, why not give it some time then? Not only do we not know whether Jabari is certain to be nothing but a flow-killing ball-stopper, but it’s way too early to conclude he will not be efficient if he is. Melo shot 42% as a rookie, LeBron 41%, Harden 40%, Durant 43%, Westbrook 39%, Kobe 41%, etc.
As an aside, I do appreciate the levelheaded and respectful dialogue. You may ultimately be right. I have concerns about Jabari too, I’m just not willing to make any conclusions at this point, considering all of the contextual factors I mentioned above (which I think differ not-insignificantly from those other rookies dealt with during SL).
I pretty much am going to give it some time because I’m not certain I’m right. I was just really excited when I wrote this article because I felt I was onto something that nobody ever talks about that possibly has significant predictive power.
I’m going to write a follow up on all of my summer league thoughts soon and try to scale it back into more level headed territory. At this point I think it’s more important to just document the observations that nobody else is making rather than to nail the predictive meaning of each observation on my first guess. I am quite overloaded with information and it’s inevitable that I’m not going to properly weigh everything.
I think your point about players improving efficiency is valid, which is why I didn’t really jump on Jabari for this during the NCAA season. I’m just starting to get the feeling that he’s not going to improve with repetitions as well as others, but only time will tell.
I certainly am no expert, but I watch a lot of basketball. I find the comments not really too surprising, because I never quite “got” the Jabari Parker hype. Supposedly he was the “best HS player since Labron James” according to Sports Illustrated. That’s quite a burden to put on any young man, and maybe he’s trying a bit too hard to be that guy instead of just finding the right game for him. I thought he should have stayed at least another year at Duke.
I think that’s definitely the case to some extent. My perception of Jabari is that he thinks that because he has all of this hype and is supposed to be a big time scorer, that means he’s supposed to get every big time basket regardless of whether he settles for bad shots or not.
For somebody who isn’t athletic or skilled enough to generate high quality shots at will, this results in him forcing a lot of bad stuff. Given that he keeps getting good feedback (i.e. he did such a good job scoring buckets at Duke he gets rewarded w/ #2 overall pick) I don’t see him changing. If his current processes earned him elite accolades all of his life, why would he change?
I don’t think another year at Duke would have changed anything. He made zero progress over the course of his freshman season and I doubt he would change his ways as a sophomore either. May as well get paid and take his lumps as a pro.
So basically because he’s not playing like a 2014 Spur (1 of 73 champions) he’s not good?
Jabari is amazing on catch and shoots (39% from deep on catch and shoot jumpers), can draw fouls (.428 ftr – way higher than Glenn Robinson), he has an already great post game (18% of his possessions at an insane 1.06 PPP – that’s amazing and even better than the sophomore Derrick Williams), he already makes midrange jumpers at an NBA level, and the number one thing separating him from every comparison I’ve seen to him other than the Pierce/Melo comp; he has great handles and size.
You randomly state that he’s “getting lucky” while taking 20-30% shots but he was 39% on 2 point jumpers last season so I’d say those aren’t lucky makes they’re a player who can shoot.
When Michael Beasley with a brain, or a 6-9 Glenn Robinson are comps people use to say you aren’t good that says it all.
Remember what makes those tweeners usually fail, they aren’t skilled enough for SF or big enough for PF. Meanwhile Jabari is big enough for PF (9 foot standing reach – average PF is 8-11) and skilled enough for SF (great handles, jumper, etc). Its not uncommon for a player to learn good habits once in the league especially when they’re willing to learn like Jabari (look at how he adjusted to conference play).
Those are fair points, but his jumpers in college were all short and they were less heavily contested and cost fewer turnovers to create than they will be against NBA defenses.
It’s possible that he improves his shot making enough to make like 40% of mid-range jumpers anyway, which I sitll don’t think would make him a particularly attractive player but maybe his box score stats look good.
This is mostly just an indictment of his style. He could still post legit box score stats and I think he has a good of a chance as anybody to win ROY.
Also where did Evan Turner come from? They play nothing alike. I find it pretty telling you’re comparing a freshmen to NCAA vets.
Evan Turner posted completely beast mode NCAA stats and then just didn’t translate to the NBA because he wasn’t quick or athletic enough to generate the same quality of shots against superior defenses. Because he was still going to try to generate shots and was willing to take bad ones, it resulted in a highly inefficient player.
Jabari might go down a similar path. Or he might just be more naturally talented and athletic than Evan Turner and not turn out quite as poorly in the pros.
I understand your concerns and i´m worried too, but relax a little bit with the conclusions. There were good things and bad things but if you watched those games you can see that this Bucks didn´t have talent at all outside of Giannis and perhaps Walters, no spacing, no schemes, no coaching whatsoever, it was just Giannis do your thing, Jabari do your think we wanna see what we have. Proof of that? that insane and clearly fluke/ish TO% and the weirdly low number of ast% for Giannis, much lower than in regular season. Bad thing: he was clearly out of shape even in the first game, and actually had better energy with more games and training(and less pounds), he had real problems with lenght and didn´t have a great first step plus he couldn´t buy a 3 pt shot SSS aside.
Something i did see and i´m surprised, he makes awesome picks and he´s much better in D than i thought as a 4, super strong, rotates well, always box out… i doubt he can sustain this rebounding but, could he be a young/lite version of Love? Love has the same problems(not that athletic, short arms,slow, etc) but he developed the 3 in his 3rd year and went nuts with his efficiency plus he began use his vission(that Jabari clearly has too) to pass much more.
One more thing, we can agree that Giannis was spectacular, but i ended asking myself if both him and Jabari are too similar to play well together, something that i tought before the draft .
I don’t think Giannis and Jabari are similar at all. Giannis looks like an awesome role player to me who pretty much fits into any lineup because his physical tools give him such versatility.
I guess Jabari could turn into a lite version of Love if he starts developing better. Their physical profiles aren’t too far off and they are both good at rebounding and 3’s for a PF. But Love had a WAY higher 2p% and much better assist:TOV in college which is likely indicative of his much more cerebral approach to the game that makes him Love.
The reason why I doubt Jabari is because I don’t believe in his ability to start playing in a cerebral manner like Love because he plays the opposite of that way in my observation of him. I’m not a believer in betting on people to change their nature, but if he is going to become good it’s likely developing along a similar arc to Love.
Jabari also had to play C on a Duke team that was comparatively lacking in talent for a Duke team.
It is incredibly difficult to take this breakdown seriously as it is based on the mess that was the Bucks’ Summer League team. The just-installed coaching staff clearly didn’t have much in place for scheme and the roster was severely lacking in talent outside of Giannis/JP/Wolters(on a bum ankle).
It has been stated by several places that the staff basically gave JP and GA specific instructions and items to work on in the games and otherwise just let the kids go play. The results bear that out.
It’s way too early to declare that Parker isn’t going to work out that well.
That team was lacking defensive talent but offensively they were loaded and playing center surrounded by ball handlers and shooters is completely optimal for a player like Jabari.
The fact that this is what you get when you tell Jabari to go play is what scares me. He doesn’t have sharp natural instincts, and if he doesn’t get a sharp coach either he may just never become efficient.
Pingback: This Draft Feels Like 2014 All Over Again | Dean On Draft
Pingback: Where Does Paolo Banchero Fit in the Modern NBA and 2022 Draft? | Dean On Draft