Forward Jabari Parker willing to play the long game in Bulls’ rebuild
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In Bulls forward Jabari Parker’s laid-back world, two bad preseason games barely create a ripple in his pool of concerns.
That was especially evident when Parker said Tuesday the Bulls’ rebuild is about ‘‘trying to build years here.’’ It was a response that came from nowhere.
Parker was discussing the Bulls’ defensive miscues in their 110-104 preseason loss Monday to the Hornets when his answer suddenly took a turn.
‘‘Again, just getting used to different guys and hearing their voices is pretty much important,’’ Parker said. ‘‘I knew it was going to take some time. It’s a new environment for me and other people, too. I’m not looking at it like months; I’m trying to build years here. It’s going to take some time. Every team in the beginning is going to take some bumps and bruises to get to where they are.’’
The problem is, Parker might not have ‘‘years here.’’ The way his two-year, $40 million contract is structured, the Bulls have a team option for next season that they say will remain in place even if he is traded. In other words, Parker might become a movable asset if the second year of the Bulls’ rebuild doesn’t go as planned.
The Bulls have struggled finding their way defensively — in effort, scheme and communication — during the preseason. Parker, however, hasn’t helped on offense, either, shooting a combined 4-for-23 (17.4 percent) in the last two preseason games and 9-for-37 (24.3 percent) overall.
But coach Fred Hoiberg called the issues a teamwide problem rather than singling Parker out.
‘‘Well, we settled for a lot of bad shots [Monday] night,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘It wasn’t just Jabari; it was everybody. And we’ve got to clean that up. . . . When we attacked and got into the paint, good things happened. That’s got to be the theme of our team.
‘‘In practice, we’ve done a pretty good job of that. Then when we get out there against another opponent, we are settling for contested mid-range shots. We’ve got to clean that up before we get started [in the regular season].’’
And that isn’t the only aspect of the Bulls’ game that needs help.
‘‘We’re throwing a lot at them right now, and we are breaking down a lot more than we were earlier,’’ Hoiberg said of the defensive miscues. ‘‘Believe it or not, [Monday] night I thought we were a little better. At times, I thought we had some really good possessions on the defensive end.
‘‘But it goes back to the overall consistency. And when you turn the ball over 19 times and get them out in transition and get easy baskets, that’s what generates confidence. And [bad] shot selection also gets a team out on the break. So those are two areas that, if we clean those up, we should be better on the defensive end.’’
Parker agreed that better offense would improve the Bulls’ defense. Then again, he’s not someone who seems to think a lot about defense in the first place.
‘‘It’s a matter of trying to hit [opposing teams] back with a good offense in return,’’ Parker said. ‘‘We go into slumps, too. We have some good looks, and it doesn’t help that we don’t make baskets. We can’t let that dictate our