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Bulls’ Jabari Parker says a reserve role ‘would be a huge adjustment’

Jabari Parker, Bulls

Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has been noncommittal about the role Jabari Parker will play moving forward after acquiring him as a free agent this summer.

The Bulls brought in Parker to be their starting small forward, but Lauri Markkanen’s elbow injury shifted the 23-year-old over to power forward. However, Hoiberg opted to bring Parker off the bench in favor of Bobby Portis for Wednesday’s preseason victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Justin Holiday remained as the starting small forward, and both Holiday and Portis performed well during a dominant win that saw the Bulls’ starters destroy the Pacers’ starting unit.

“We’ll continue to evaluate. But I did like the look from both groups last night,” said Horberg, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

If the Bulls want to stick with the red-hot Portis as the starting power forward, they could still move Parker back into the starting lineup at small forward. However, Johnson reports the team has discussed scrapping the Parker-at-SF experiment. If true, that would mean a possible bench role now and a definite bench role when Markkanen returns from his injury.

“It would be a huge adjustment for me,” said Parker.

Parker didn’t talk to reporters after Wednesday’s game, but said Thursday “there wasn’t really any reason given” for the lineup change. It was “just a different lineup.”

The Chicago native was a starter his entire career until he was relegated to a bench role with the Milwaukee Bucks last season upon his return from a second ACL injury, starting in only three of his 38 appearances in the regular season and postseason combined.

Parker’s discontent became especially apparent when he received little playing time to start the Bucks’ playoff series against the Boston Celtics. He bounced back a bit to finish off the series, but it was a sign that his days in Milwaukee were over.

Moving Parker, a two-year, $40 million signing, to the bench could spark some issues. However, his play has done little to reflect deserving a starting spot over Portis, who has been one of the Bulls’ leading scorers in the preseason.