Chicago Bulls: Bold predictions for Jabari Parker in 2018-2019

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Jabari Parker Chicago Bulls
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Bold prediction no. 1: Parker dramatically improves on defense

This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I really believe that Parker can get much better on defense next season. Despite having a tough time defensively throughout his career, Parker has the natural skill and size to at least be a serviceable defender. The Bulls will need Parker to improve on defense as guard Zach LaVine is rated as one of the worst defenders in the league.

Parker will switch positions from power forward to small forward with the Bulls. Some analysts see this as a move that will hurt Parker’s defensive ability because he will be guarding faster, more skilled players. Parker will also be out of his natural position which he has played most of his life. While it will be a challenge, I feel the forward has an opportunity to prove some doubters wrong.

It’s no secret Parker doesn’t really like playing defense. In July, he interviewed with a local radio station and pretty much admitted that fact. It shocked a lot of fans and definitely didn’t give them much hope that Parker would put in a maximum effort on the defensive end of the court. However, I think Parker knows that he has to improve at least marginally on defense.

The reason I think Parker will be more focused on defense this season is that he’s basically going to be a free agent again if he doesn’t perform well. He’s got $20 million that’s due to him in 2019-2020 that could potentially be left on the table. That alone should be an incentive to not just be the one-dimensional scorer he has been in the past. That being said, it won’t be easy for him.

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Parker has undoubtedly heard the criticisms lobbed at him about his defense. I really hope he takes them to heart and goes out there to prove all the haters wrong. He’ll have tougher matchups, but I feel that will force Parker to up his efforts on defense so he’s not getting embarrassed night in and night out.