Bucks' Parker looks good in summer league
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jabari Parker knows much more is ahead for him in his rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
But so far, so good.
The No. 2 overall draft pick took his initial steps in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and showed plenty of promise during the past week. He ended with a strong performance Friday, leading the Bucks to a 79-74 victory over the Golden State Warriors at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Parker contributed 20 points and 15 rebounds, and forward Chris Wright added 16 points and eight rebounds as Milwaukee (1-4) avoided going winless during its Vegas stay.
While top overall pick Andrew Wiggins had to deal with persistent rumors he might be traded by Cleveland in a deal for Minnesota veteran Kevin Love, Parker had no such worries.
The 6-foot-8 Parker knew he was going to be a fixture in the young Bucks lineup and focused on polishing his game and getting to know coach Jason Kidd and his staff.
“It’s been good because I’ve been able to have a voice on my team,” Parker said of his initial Bucks experience. “The guys have been doing a good job listening to me, and I’ve been listening to them.
“That’s a good aspect I want to have, especially coming with the Bucks. I just want to be a leader, use my wisdom as much as possible.”
Parker said watching film of the summer league games should help him.
“It’s seeing different areas of the floor I can be most decisive,” Parker said. “It’s just being crisp, being a little more efficient.
“It’s just being a student of the game. Film is going to be (important) because I’ve got the skill set, pretty much. It’s more implementing that.”
Parker plans to shuttle between his native Chicago and Milwaukee the rest of the summer until settling into Milwaukee when training camp opens in late September.
“I will definitely stay in the gym because I don’t want to get too out of shape,” Parker said. “I’m pretty good right now from the summer league. I just want to keep that stamina up coming into the fall training camp.”
He admitted he already is looking forward to joining the full Bucks squad.
“Twice as exciting,” Parker said. “It will be some guys that I will be able to learn from, communicate, just trying to figure out our plan.”
Bucks guard Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the summer league finale after leaving the team Thursday to head to Greece. Antetokounmpo will join the full Greek national team as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup to be held later this summer in Spain.
Antetokounmpo gained confidence during his summer league stint and played extensively at point guard. Kidd said he would not be afraid to use the 19-year-old at the position during the regular season.
The 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo averaged 17 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists over four games.
Second-round Bucks draft pick Johnny O’Bryant, who started at center Friday, had 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors.
Milwaukee led, 45-21, at halftime but allowed 53 points in the second half.
The Warriors mounted a huge comeback in the fourth quarter, but Parker made two big plays to help the Bucks stay on top. The former Duke player responded to a Golden State basket with a reverse slam and moments later used a crossover dribble in traffic and finished neatly in the lane.
Parker ended summer league play averaging 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds while starting all five games.