Tag: Jabari Parker

Owning the Future? What Jabari Parker's Injury Means For the Bucks

The rebuild took a big hit Wednesday night.

 

By: Jim Boyce

By now if you are a Bucks fan you have heard the news, Jabari Parker tore his ACL again on a non contact injury Wednesday night against the Miami Heat. This is the second time in just three seasons Parker has experienced this injury. Suddenly the dreadful month of January in which the Bucks have lost 11 of their last 13 meant little. The Bucks have already faded out of contention this season, but right now that means nothing compared to the long term effects Parker’s injury may have. A dark cloud now hangs over the future of this franchise.

THE IMPACT

The devastating thing about this injury is there is not much, or any, history of NBA players coming back from two torn ACL’s and being successful. A local example is Michael Redd, who was essentially forced to retire after his second major knee injury. Redd was at a much later stage of his career than Parker is now, and our fingers are crossed that youth helps Jabari make it back onto the court.

Expectations need to be tempered though. Even with a full recovery Parker will not be back on the floor for 12 months and then it will take some time for him to work back into the rotation and feel comfortable. Even an optimistic view does not see Parker back and playing at full strength until the Bucks open up their new arena in the fall of 2018. It’s impossible to say right now if Parker will be anywhere near as explosive when he does return, and for a player as dependent on explosiveness as he is that is incredibly concerning.

WHAT NOW?

The Bucks should tank, plain and simple. Tanking is an ugly word but the Bucks need to take a long term approach with this setback. Let Thon Maker, Malcolm Brogdon, and Rashad Vaughn get the bulk of the minutes and see what you have in these guys going forward. While playoff experience is useful the Bucks do not have much to gain by chasing the 8th seed and it is not a lock they will even have enough firepower to get there anyway.

The ultimate goal here in Milwaukee is to win a championship and to do that you need an a star studded core. Recent examples such as the Cavaliers and Warriors show that star power is what wins in the NBA. The Bucks have one already in Giannis and Khris Middleton was a fringe All-Star last season before getting hurt to open 2016-17. The other piece was Parker, who garnered All-Star consideration with his best basketball to date. Right now though the Bucks can not be sure Parker will still be that player. If he loses explosiveness or is battling injury throughout his career he can not be counted on to be that piece that gets them to the big stage. Thon Maker could develop into a star player, he is certainly willing to put in the work to do so. Still while Maker is an exciting young talent, there are no guarantees he reaches the level that Parker was trending towards.

The best way for the Bucks to land another potential star is through the draft. The 2017 class is considered deep by many, and the Bucks could land a really good player with a high draft pick. This is mainly why I believe “tanking” is the way for the Bucks to go now. It is no fun watching a team finish with 30 or so wins, but the reward down the line could be great. Adding a top talent to this team could help offset Parker’s cloudy future and if Jabari is able to overcome his injuries and play at a high level the Bucks will have a truly special, championship level core. A draft pick, even top five, carries no guarantees but it is the best the Bucks can do at the moment.

In conclusion this is a devastating turn of events for the Bucks and their fans. The rebuild almost certainly has been delayed, and for how long is yet to be determined. I am still optimistic that the Bucks window has not shut before it even opened, but the road to success just became a whole lot more difficult.

Bucks Land The Jet

Why veteran leadership is important for this young squad.

By: Jim Boyce

The Milwaukee Bucks officially signed Jason Terry Monday afternoon, adding another backup at the shooting guard position. Now whenever a veteran such as Terry is brought in there seems to be several reactions. One being dismissal, “what is 38 year old Jason Terry going to do for the Bucks?” Another is misplaced optimism from casual fans who remember him from his prime and expect that he will put up numbers like it is 2006. Lastly there are people who realize Terry might not offer a ton on the court at his age, but that his locker room presence can help the team.

The reality is that Jason Terry is limited at this stage of his career, but what he can still do is play 15 or so minutes a game and hit three pointers when the opportunity arises. More importantly what Terry and Steve Novak, who is likely to be resigned by Milwaukee, can bring is veteran leadership. While it may cause some to roll their eyes, veterans in the locker room can make a significant difference on a young team and recent Bucks history gives us a solid example.

The 2014-15 Bucks were a feel good story for most of us who follow the team. Following a 15-67 campaign the season before even the most optimistic Bucks fans were not predicting more than 30 wins on the season. The Bucks, who lost first round pick Jabari Parker early that season, hit the 30 win mark by the all star break. While they cooled off in the second half, they still finished 41-41 and played a six game series against a highly rated Chicago Bulls team.

While the young nucleus of Giannis Antetokuonmpo, Khris Middleton, and Brandon Knight/Michael Carter-Williams were the players fans focused on, the glue behind that team was the veterans. Jared Dudley, Zaza Pachulia, Jerryd Bayless, and O.J. Mayo all played key roles off the bench, and led the way as far as defensive communication. In 2015-16 Dudley and Pachulia were gone. O.J. Mayo struggled with injuries, poor performance, and quite possibly some personal issues. That left Jerryd Bayless as the elder statesman on the team, and he missed time with his own injuries. The Bucks struggled as their bench offered next to nothing behind Giannis, Parker, and Middleton. Defensive communication suffered as the Bucks plummeted in the rankings. The team struggled out of the gate and never made serious strides towards the playoffs, finishing 33-49.

Jason Terry and Steve Novak are not going to push the Bucks to the next level. Milwaukee is not likely to be taking down Cleveland or Golden State in a seven game series this year. However Giannis and Parker, as well as other youngsters like Rashad Vaughn, Malcolm Brogdon, and Thon Maker can learn a few things about the grind of an 82 game season from two guys who have been through it for the last decade plus. Both Terry and Novak played with Coach Jason Kidd during the latter part of Kidd’s career and can work as extensions of him on the floor as well as on the bench. If the young players can learn how to handle adversity, losing streaks, and the general rigors of a long season, it could go a long way in future seasons when the Bucks are contending for something. In fact Terry himself talked about helping Giannis reach new heights in his first interview upon signing. The vets may not get the Bucks back into the Eastern Conference playoffs this season, that lies more on the development of the young players, but if they help those players improve in any way they will have been worth signing.

 

Bucks 2nd Round Spotlight

Why you should be rooting for Malcolm Brogdon.

By: Jim Boyce

The second round of the NBA draft can at best be described as a shot in the dark, and at worst described as pointless. Very few second round players ever become stars or even starters. For every Draymond Green, Isaiah Thomas, or our own Khris Middleton, there are dozens of Johnny O’Bryant’s.

That being said the Bucks may have found themselves a real value in this years second round with the selection of Malcolm Brogdon out of Virginia. After shocking the world with the selection of very talented but very risky Thon Maker in the first, John Hammond and Co. seemed to go a safer route in the second. Here are a couple reasons to like Malcolm Brogdon.

He Can Help the Team Right Away

Malcolm Brogdon’s game is not flashy, he is not likely to be joining Giannis and Jabari on SportsCenters Top 10 countdowns any time soon. What Brogdon does do though is play defense, something the Bucks mostly neglected last season. Brogdon was the NABC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and was often asked to guard all three perimeter positions. While lacking elite lateral quickness that worried some scouts, the effort and determination he shows on a nightly basis should help him to limit opposing wing players. In some ways that description reminds me of another recent Bucks addition and gritty defender, Matthew Dellevadova.

Brogdon probably won’t put up big numbers on the offensive end, but he often looked like the most poised player on the floor during the Summer League. He should be an unselfish teammate who is capable of hitting the open jumper when the opportunity presents itself.

His Intangibles Are Off The Charts

Look as hard as you can, but you will not find anyone that has had anything negative to say about Brogdon as a teammate or person. He was a leader for a good Virginia team, and despite being a rookie, can become the same on the Bucks. In a recent piece by Dave Johnson of the Daily Press highlighting his leadership skills, Brogdon sounded like a player comfortable with that role who also understands his place as a rookie making the leap to the next level.

“I’m excited,” Brogdon said in meeting the Milwaukee media. “I’m ready to take on whatever role Coach Kidd and Mr. Hammond have in mind for me. I think at heart, I’m a leader. But in this situation, I’ll have to listen and learn even from the younger guys here. I’m going to feel my way out.”

Outside of basketball Brogdon is a very impressive young man. Watch the 3:00-4:18 mark here where Brogdon talks about the importance of his education and goals of using the money he will make from his NBA career to help those in need. I know what you might be thinking, character is not going to win basketball games, and that is true. The reality is we as sports fans generally don’t care what players do with their free time as long as they perform on the court.

However I think Brogdon’s goals of contributing to the world outside of sports is impressive when he could easily live comfortably off the money he will make as a pro. It’s safe to say Brogdon would be a successful individual even without basketball. He is a genuinely likable person and because of that it is almost impossible not to cheer for Malcolm Brogdon as he begins his NBA career.

In closing, there are a lot of things to like about Brogdon both on and off the court. While the odds are he will never be a star player. His effort and basketball IQ should allow him to become a solid rotation player on a Milwaukee team that was lacking off the bench last season. Do not be surprised if Malcolm Brogdon carves out a role and plays meaningful minutes off the bench as early as his rookie season.