New Bull Jabari Parker already seems to be on a different page than his coach
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
His responses weren’t very long or well-thought-out.
Heck, it was hard to tell if he was being completely honest.
But Jabari Parker at least spoke with the media Thursday, even if he sounded like there were 1,000 other places he’d rather be.
One day after having his role changed from starter to reserve, then avoiding the media, Parker was asked about his reaction to the move by Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff.
“I try not to get emotional,’’ Parker said. “Understand that there’s a theory to everything. I just tried my best to do what I could.’’
Asked if he would be disappointed if he remained in that bench role, Parker said, “No, [not] necessarily. I just want to be able to get on the floor and hopefully maximize whatever I have to do.’’
That perspective just might be put to the test. Just like Parker and Hoiberg’s relationship could be.
Hoiberg said he spoke to Parker about the change before the game and reiterated that Thursday.
“With the second unit, and I talked to Jabari about this, we try to use him in more of a facilitating role and put the ball in his hands and really kind of use him as a point forward,’’ Hoiberg said. “And I liked the look of it.’’
When asked about the explanation he was given, Parker said, “Really wasn’t any reason but just different lineups.’’
The uh-oh moments didn’t end there. Parker was asked if he should be willing to take any role at this point, considering he has undergone two surgeries on his anterior cruciate ligament.
“Uh, no comment,’’ he said.
He might want to get a comment ready.
In moving Parker and Robin Lopez to the bench in the Bulls’ 104-89 victory Wednesday against the Pacers, Hoiberg saw more life on both ends from a new-look starting rotation of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis and rookie Wendell Carter Jr.
So when asked about Parker’s ego somehow being bruised, Hoiberg didn’t view that as a priority in the big picture.
“It’s about trying to find the guys that fit the best together, and that’s what it’s all about right now,’’ Hoiberg said. “It’s about trying to put guys in positions to be successful on the floor.
‘‘We went with a different lineup [Wednesday] night, and I liked the way it looked.’’
The change was easier to implement considering Parker’s poor preseason.
In the two losses with him in the starting lineup, Parker, a former Simeon standout, shot a combined 4-for-23, and the Bulls got off to slow starts and looked awful defensively.
Not exactly an ideal return for the front office on its two-year, $40 million offseason investment.
The good news is the Bulls have the team option for the second year. The bad news? Year 1 is less than three weeks old.
Not that there should’ve been high expectations for the No. 2 pick of the 2014 draft, especially after the two ACL injuries. But the hope was he wouldn’t stunt the rebuild, either.
Fortunately for Parker, nothing is set in stone. The Bulls finish the preseason Friday against the Nuggets, then open the regular season Thursday against the 76ers in Philadelphia.
“I talked to all of our guys about that,’’ Hoiberg said. “I really don’t care who starts the game. It’s about who’s going to go out there and show who deserves to be on the floor in crunch time when it matters most.’’