When players enter the NBA, they often play “smaller” than they did, at least initially, in college. But Jabari Parker, maybe the most “NBA-ready” of the upper-echelon of rookies this season, is planning on remaining a power forward as he begins his career with the Milwaukee Bucks.
He’s listed by many as a Small Forward. He loves playing far away from the basket, averaging 3 shots from beyond the arc per game last season for Duke, hitting 35.8% of his attempts. Clearly, this is a guy who has a lot of spots to shoot from, averaging 19.1 points per game as a freshman, and might be the leading candidate to finish as rookie of the year when the award is handed out.
But the Bucks are quite filled with players and talent at the forward positions. Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is the likely favorite to be the starting small forward. Parker? He knows where he wants to play and where he’s used to playing.
As of right now I’m more comfortable with the 4 position. That’s where I played previously, before getting drafted, at Duke. I played a lot of 4. Even in high school. I know this is a different level. But in coach’s style of play, it’s more a stretch 4. That’s where I like to play my game, even though I like to post up a little. Just being on the perimeter, setting screens and popping, that’s what we’ve been doing so far. That’s what coach Kidd has been anticipating me playing that role.
Kidd, starting his second season as an NBA head coach and his first with the Bucks, has a decision to make. One of them might have to do with Larry Sanders starting off the bench and Henson, a 6’11 Power Forward-Center, taking over the ‘5’ position duties, giving Parker the space to roam on the outside and not feel like he has competition for his position, at least in the early goings.
More decisions to make? Trading someone – probably Ilyasova, although his deal isn’t exactly cap friendly considering how badly he has done over the last season or maybe more. Some have even mentioned Henson as someone who might get traded, but moving him to the center position probably means Ilyasova is the most likely player on the trading block, with the Bucks trying to rise up from the ashes of last year’s awful season.