Not only is Jabari Parker getting a fresh start to his somewhat floundering NBA career; it’s a homecoming, of sorts. As such, during his introductory press conference with the Bulls on Wednesday, he was effusive in his praise of fellow Chicago native and former franchise star Derrick Rose, who he called “one of the best players to ever play the game.”
This summer, Parker signed a two-year deal with his hometown Bulls worth just over $20 million per year, with a team option for the second year. In a sense, he’s playing for his next contract and trying to prove to the world that he can live up to the immense potential that made him the No. 2 pick in the 2014 Draft. Parker has shown flashes of brilliance in his career, but he’s also battled knee injuries and was nudged out of the spotlight as Giannis Antetokounmpo emerged as the Bucks’ bona fide franchise star.
He’s joining an intriguing young core in Chicago that includes Lauri Markkanen and a recently re-signed Zach LaVine as the organization is starting to fully embrace its rebuild. Parker will get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do as a focal point of the Bulls’ offense, and for better or worse, he’s also been rather candid about the fact that he doesn’t have much ambition toward the other end of the floor.