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Hawks’ Jabari Parker says he cares about defense, wants to be an all-around player

Jabari Parker, Hawks

New Atlanta Hawks forward Jabari Parker is working on all aspects of his game, in what has been a whirlwind calendar year for the former second-overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Parker, 24, started the 2018-19 season with the Chicago Bulls after signing a two-year contract last summer following a roller-coaster tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks in which he tore his left knee’s ACL on two different occasions. Chicago sent Parker and Bobby Portis to the Washington Wizards at the NBA’s trade deadline in February of this year, and later the D.C. franchise exercised the team option in the 6-foot-8 forward’s deal, making him a free agent again.

The Hawks picked up Parker in free agency during the 2019 offseason, inking him to a two-year contract worth a total $13 million, including a $6.5 million player option for the 2020-21 season.

Parker doesn’t plan on taking it easy heading into his new deal, however, per Ben Stinar in Amico Hoops:

“Of course I do,” he said. “I want to be out there playing. If I can’t defend my opponent and if he scores as much I’m scoring then he won the matchup. I take pride in my matchup. I try to fulfill my role and my responsibility as much as I can. The greatest teams have shown that they gotta lock down, and that’s the type of person that I want to become, is an all-around player.”

Parker averaged 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 26.9 minutes per game for the Bulls and Wizards last season, shooting 49.3% from the foor, 31.3% from 3-point range, and 71.2% from the free-throw line in 64 contests. Since his entry into the Association, Parker has been known as an offense-first kind of player while slacking on the defensive end of the court.