I’ve been trying to think of a really unique perspective on Jabari Parker’s torn ACL, but I just can’t do it.
Just last week, I mentioned that the Bucks have no reason to tank this season because teams tank to obtain MVP-level talent, and Milwaukee already has two players with that potential. The Bucks have hit the first four numbers on their lottery ticket and just need that final number to be a 34 or a12. Unfortunately, the chances of that number being 12 just decreased.
That’s not to say Parker can’t still be a MVP-level talent, but the odds just became a bit longer. After watching Parker score with relative ease and show the savvy of a veteran offensively, it became quite easy to imagine Parker playing in multiple All-Star games as his career progressed. In fact, that might have been a prediction many Bucks observers would have made with confidence, but now that confidence must be questioned.
As the season had progressed, a very blurry outline of the Bucks future had started to become a bit clearer, but it has once again become blurred with this injury. It’s still quite possible that Parker puts together an amazing career, but Milwaukee’s once-unchecked optimism now has a counterbalance – the nagging notion that we won’t be able to look at his career without thinking about what could have been.
And that’s a damn shame. Instead of being able to work on his consistency and figuring out how to play NBA-caliber defense, Parker will be forced to rehab from a potential career-altering injury and deal with the mental anguish that comes with the package.
As a whole, we’ve learned to deal with sport injuries by asking ourselves questions about the team and how they’ll deal with the injury. Who steps up in Parker’s absence? Should the Bucks tank with Parker injured? Will the Bucks still be able to win games without Parker? What kind of player will Parker be when he returns?
These are all questions that we’ve been trained to believe are important, but they are simply coping mechanisms for us to avoid the reality of what occurred. A 19-year-old suffered a potentially career-altering injury and may never be the same.
That is undeniably sad.
So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to avoid answering any of those questions for another week and instead send my most positive thoughts to Parker and wish him well in his recovery.
What to Read
The Jabari Parker Injury: Where do the Bucks go from here? – Bucksketball’s Jeremy Schmidt takes a look at what the rest of this season holds for the Bucks without Parker and finds some troubling signs suggesting a strategy he has seen before.
Jabari’s done for the season. Now what? – Frank Madden of Brew Hoop asks some similar questions and finds six important things for Bucks fans to keep in mind when considering Parker’s injury.
What Jabari Parker’s injury means to Bucks in short term, big picture – Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver takes a closer look at the impressive parts of Parker’s rookie season and some of the concerns of Parker’s injury going forward. He also examined why the injury is more difficult for the Bucks in their future plans than in this season.
Clip of the Week
I have loved watching the Bucks play offense while on the same side of the floor as their bench, and I’ll show you why in this clip. Often, coach Jason Kidd will get out of his seat and effectively use his point guard as a surrogate for the plays he would have made on the floor. I’m not sure it teaches the Bucks point guards anything, but it’s still pretty cool to see Kidd’s basketball mind work.
Week in Review
Saturday – After a five-day break, the Bucks put up arguably their most impressive victory of the season, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 111-106 in Milwaukee. After trying to go toe-to-toe with Matt Barnes, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and added five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
Monday – Khris Middleton banked in an insane three at the buzzer to beat the Phoenix Suns 96-94, but Jabari Parker tore his ACL and everything was terrible.
Wednesday – Even without Parker, the Bucks played the Portland Trail Blazers tough through three quarters, but just didn’t have enough firepower down the stretch falling 104-97. And as if the Parker injury wasn’t a big enough scare, Giannis rolled his ankle midway through the game and did not return. So far, it looks like just a typical sprain. Exhale.
Next Week’s Preview
Thursday – The second game of the Tyrone Corbin era in Sacramento will feature the Bucks as they try to beat the recently struggling Kings.
Saturday – Just one week after losing in Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Clippers will have a chance to even the score against the Bucks in the Staples Center.
Tuesday – Amid Lance Stephenson trade rumors, the Charlotte Hornets will attempt to right the ship against the Bucks and find their way back into the Eastern Conference playoff conversation.
Stats of the Week
20.4 – Behind only Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine in Minnesota, Jabari Parker had the league’s third-highest usage rate among qualified NBA rookies at 20.4 percent. (via NBA Stats)
7 – In the last 10 years, only seven players had finished their rookie season averaging at least 12 points/5 rebounds/1 assist per game. When declared out for the season earlier this week, Parker was averaging 12.3ppg, 5.5rpg, and 1.7apg. (via Basketball Reference Play Index)
87 – Among rookies, Parker made the most baskets in the restricted area, nearly doubling the second-highest number of makes by a rookie (Andrew Wiggins – 45). (via NBA Stats)
Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine‘s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can yell at Eric or attempt to cheer him up by telling him your favorite Skip to My Lou Bucks moment on Twitter @eric_nehm. See last week’s column here.