Bulls forward Jabari Parker

670 The Score

Bernstein: Bulls' Parker Offers Few Assurances For D

Parker was introduced by the Bulls on Wednesday morning.

Dan Bernstein
July 18, 2018 - 2:24 pm
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(670 The Score) Remember way back, a long time ago, when this space brought you the comments Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson made regarding his two recent signees and their shared struggles on defense? 

Do you recall him copping to the statistical evidence of their respective inability and then assuring us that it could be overcome with renewed commitment on that end, enough to at least help in ways demanded by ball-screen-reliant NBA offenses?

Yeah, well, it was Tuesday.  And never mind.

New Bulls forward Jabari Parker joined the Bernstein and McKnight Show on 670 The Score on Wednesday, and he was asked if he can play defense.

"I don't know," he said, "I just stick to my strengths. Look at everybody in the league -- they don't pay players to play defense. 

"I'm not gonna say that I won't, but to say that's a weakness is like saying that's everybody's weakness. I've scored 30s and 20s off of guys who say they try to play defense."

OK.

But what about the switching Paxson detailed, the need in position-less ball to at least try enough to keep an offensive player in front of you for a dribble or two? In answering that, Parker was more fatalistic in his belief that scorers are just going to score, and that's how it is regardless of any effort to oppose them.

"Certain guys have a (scoring) average, and no matter what you do they still get that average," he said. "They pay people to score the ball, and I would hope that somebody scores the ball on me if they paid them that much."

So if Paxson or anyone else was operating under the assumption that Parker was ready to buy into a new dedication to defensive improvement, it's time to disabuse oneself of such thoughts.  Indeed, Parker goes so far as to say that if his man is paid enough, he hopes he scores on him.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.