Bulls forward Jabari Parker

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Bernstein: Parker Only Willing To Do So Much

Jabari Parker seems disgruntled about coming off the bench.

Dan Bernstein
October 11, 2018 - 2:04 pm
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(670 The Score) He didn't seem happy to be coming off the bench instead of starting for the Bulls on Wednesday night, leaving the locker room after the tea's 104-89 exhibition victory over the Pacers without speaking to reporters.

But Jabari Parker made himself available at length Thursday, taking the time to make his preference regarding such a role perfectly clear. He said that being a reserve would be "a huge adjustment," and he didn't seem to mean just the new responsibilities coach Fred Hoiberg gave him as a point-forward facilitator with that group. Asked more broadly if he was willing to embrace any role asked of him, Parker's answer spoke volumes.

"No comment," he said.

That's far from a yes and easily interpreted as a no, a sign that the fifth-year forward now on his second team after two ACL tears in the same knee has some specific expectations for his latest professional responsibilities, at the least.

Parker has already told us that he's not here to guard anybody and would much rather concern himself with scoring points. Those two facts may inform Hoiberg's trial run of splitting Parker up from Zach Lavine, so as to have only one non-defender on the floor at any given time and prevent offensive possessions from becoming turn-taking battles over shooting opportunities. But what we've learned is that designating Parker as unworthy of the starting five -- or merely creating the appearance of it in Parker's mind even if it's not necessarily the case -- may have negative repercussions that need to be managed.

Good luck to Hoiberg if this is just the latest case of trying to get buy-in and example-setting from yet another veteran for this latest chance at implementing whatever he has envisioned. Dwyane Wade is in Miami as a hood ornament, Rajon Rondo is part of LeBron James' gambit of cornering the market on weirdos, knuckleheads and misfits and Jimmy Butler is doing some kind of avant-garde performance art in Minneapolis that only he appears to understand or appreciate.

This was supposed to be a clean break from that for the Bulls, a resetting of the system to allow for the cultivation of young talent in a remodeled and modernized offense. Parker already pushing back against a coaching decision and seeing himself as something other or better than what he may now actually be looks like an early and unexpected headwind for a team that has already weathered so much.

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