If you’ve followed me for any period of time you’d know that I’ve been a proponent of breaking up the Blazer’s backcourt since 2015. I love Damian Lillard. I like CJ McCollum. I’ve never thought that together (without serious help) they could elevate into the top tier of the NBA. I’ve wanted Portland to make a move for a longer and more athletic wing player for years. Someone who can score off the bounce and be a positional mismatch. Which on paper, Jabari Parker is- sort of.
For me, Parker is the absolutely wrong guy for Portland in so many reasons. Portland’s biggest problems are consistent perimeter defense and multi-dimensional scoring. Parker provides neither of those. For his career, Parker hasn’t shot above 38 percent outside of three feet from the rim. On every level outside of right at the cup, he’s been bad.
Parker’s defense is the kind of inspirational tragedy that William Shakespeare dreams of. James Harden thinks Parker’s defense is suspect and lazy. Jabari Parker is at good at defense as The Avengers are at protecting Infinity Stones. Jabari…..well you get the point. He’s an absolute disaster on that end. There’s no amount of cover the Blazers could provide to even attempt to hide him.
This doesn’t even take into account what it would possibly cost to acquire Parker. Say what you will about Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, or even Al-Farouq Aminu (2 of these 3 would likely be in the deal) is the change here really worth it this year or the immediate salary relief Portland would get?
I can see where it could lead if Portland is able to parlay the move into someone of value in the offseason, using Parker’s team option to release him. Problem is, it’s not enough space to be a player for the likes of Khris Middleton, Tobias Harris, or throwing an offer at the likes of Kelly Oubre- let alone the big ticket players like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, etc. I’m all for creating cap space to facilitate another trade but my faith that a deal of consequence would follow that…. Eeeehhh.
A move for Parker reads like a move for the sake of a move. There are times where that’s probably necessary for a team. I chalk a Jabari Parker trade into the same category as a move for Melo. Could you do it? Sure. Should you do it? Probably not.