Jabari Parker seems to be the popular target for trolls this season. He’s got the big contract, but I think his unwillingness to communicate with the local media feeds the negativity. That negativity is easily picked up on by the trolls, who focus on his shortcomings. Parker lacks great defensive instincts, especially in help defense instances. Often you’ll see a Jabari iso-cam that shows a terrible defensive play. Remember, isolated moments don’t tell the whole story. Remember when the city lost its freaking mind over that picture of Trey Burton seemingly wide open in the end zone? Lots of regrettable things were uttered about Mitch Trubisky that day. A couple months later, he’s the savior. Jabari’s D can be frustrating, because Chicago is a town that appreciates defensive stars. Heck, Whammer’s brother still wears a number 30 Mike Brown jersey to Bears games.
But let’s take this weekend’s loss to Minnesota. KAT was the story of the game for the Timberwolves. Wendell Carter Jr. had his hands full with the All-Star. The rookie bit on Towns’ pump fakes and allowed him easy post position. KAT showed what beast he can be on the offensive boards and scored on a variety shots while getting to the free throw line at will. Carter will play him better next time. D. Rose is ballin’ for the Wolves. Outside of Towns, Rose is the go to guy. It’s bittersweet to see him on another team. I’m happy for his success, but miss seeing him in that #1 red. Minnesota seems ideal for Derrick, Thibs and all. He dropped an effortless 22 on the Bulls. Another Chicago (Bellwood/Proviso West) guy, Robert Covington, had an ugly shooting night but showed up with big plays, blocks and challenges. Good return for the T-Wolves in the Butler trade. Saric, too.
Jabari made things difficult on old pal Taj Gibson. Parker outran Taj on a number of breaks and it led to easy scoring chances for teammates. Jabari emulated outfield assist king Kyle Schwarber one one outlet, firing a bullet ahead to Zach for a layup. The 23-year-old remains a rare offensive talent and he’s starting to figure out his role on the Bulls. Stacey King was hyped on the Jabari/Zach 2-man game they exhibited a bunch in the 1st half. Minnesota couldn’t do anything about it. I foresee a future where your backup bigs are Jabari and Portis and they force some awkward matchups for the opposition. The season is young. Although the Bulls aren’t a playoff team, we can learn a lot about them as this season plays out. Jabari just joined the system and I think he’s finding a rhythmic place within.
Truth be told, you could dig up instances of defensively deficient moments for every player in the league. So, next time you see an isolated video of Jabari failing on defense, remember the overreaction to the Trey Burton screen grab. Did you call for Mitch Trubisky’s head? As Jeff Bearworthy might say: You just might be a troll.