Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg confirms Jabari Parker will start season coming off bench
The Chicago Bulls signed forward Jabari Parker this summer hoping he could provide a consistent scoring punch for the young team. But after benching Parker due to preseason struggles, Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg will continue bringing the 23-year-old off the bench to start the regular season.
Fred Hoiberg confirms that Jabari Parker will come off bench vs. 76ers.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 17, 2018
Parker signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls this offseason, though the second year is a team option. The youngster initially signed to start at small forward, but an elbow injury to Lauri Markkanen shifted Parker to power forward.
However, Parker’s preseason struggles coupled with Bobby Portis’ strong play resulted in Hoiberg making the lineup change. Wendell Carter Jr. will also remain in the starting lineup at center.
Parker could very well return to the Bulls’ starting lineup at some point, especially with Markkanen out for a while longer and Portis more than happy to play a sixth-man role, but Hoiberg may have other ideas. Hoiberg’s tendency to rely on point forwards could be an indication it is the role he has in mind for Parker off the bench.
Off the bench, the plan is for him to be more of a focal point. Hoiberg has discussed the idea of putting the ball in Parker’s hands as a playmaker, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who watched Hoiberg at Iowa State. He used forwards Georges Niang and Royce White in playmaking roles there, and those teams were offensive powerhouses in large part because of the duo’s strong play.
Whether it be in the Bulls’ starting lineup or the second unit, look for Parker to bounce back from his forgettable, injury-riddled season last year.