Throughout the offseason, Pick and Popovich will rank the top 50 players in the NBA. To be clear, these are 50 best players for the 2016-17 season, regardless of team situation, past performance or future potential. If you’re trying to win a championship in 2016-17, these are the 50 players you’d want most.
Why He’s Great: Here are Jabari’s stat lines for each 20 game stretch of Milwaukee’s season:
- Games 1-20: 9.5 PPG/3.8 RPG/0.9 APG, .474 FG%/.000 3FG%/.893 FT%
- Games 21-40: 12.1 PPG/4.7 RPG/1.5 APG, .468 FG%/.000 3FG%/.745 FT%
- Games 41-60: 15.2 PPG/6.4 RPG/2.3 APG, .535 FG%/.200 3FG%/.750 FT%
- Games 61-82: 17.8 PPG/5.5 RPG/2.0 APG, .485 FG%/.320 3FG%/.753 FT%
So let’s see, we’ve got a former No. 2 overall pick in a functional rookie year improving his scoring by at least two points per game every quarter of the season without sacrificing efficiency. He’s slowly adding a three-pointer as the season goes on, his rebounding and assist totals steadily improve as well, and a year after tearing his ACL he plays in 76 games. This player is only 21-years-old.
In other words, coaches lock up your forwards, Jabari Parker is coming to town.
As Parker learns to pass, he’s going to become one of the best scorers in basketball. Those assist totals are far more relevant than they appear, if Parker turns into at least an above-average passer he’s going to be better than Carmelo Anthony ever was. Defenses have to devote so much attention to him and Milwaukee’s cutters are so athletic that a selfless Parker is going to lead to plenty of open layups. The fact that his totals kept improving last summer indicates that he’s getting a lot closer to that level than he should be at this point in his young career.
Why He’s Below No. 44 (Avery Bradley): Jabari Parker is the most flawed player on this list. He can’t play defense and even if his three-point shot is improving it’s never going to be a major feature in his game. Bradley can do everything Parker can’t and a lot of what we he can, even if his ceiling isn’t as high.
He has a scary injury history and plays on a team that uses positions as a suggestion rather than a rule. That’s fine when it comes to winning basketball games, but without clearly defined roles Parker’s development is not going to move as smoothly as it could’ve.
And one season does not a trend make. Sure, Parker played 76 games last year, but his conditioning is far from perfect and he has a torn ACL on his resume. That doesn’t mean he’s going to miss games, but he’s also not someone who can play 36-38 minutes every night. He’s going to hang closer to 30, and as much playing time as that is, it’s 15-20% less than other top players and his value goes down accordingly.