The Milwaukee Bucks will start this season similarly as they did the last — one man down.
With a second ACL injury to star forward Jabari Parker, the team will once again take a long-term approach to his health and attempt to re-incorporate him once he’s 100 percent physically, much like they did with shooting guard Khris Middleton.
“We know going in we won’t have Jabari for a significant part,” general manager Jon Horst told NBA.com. “But like we did without Khris Middleton at the beginning of the season, we were able to weather that storm. There’s a storm. Jabari is a huge piece. But we think we can weather it.”
Parker was meant to be the running mate of Giannis Antetokounmpo, a frontcourt pairing that would couple freakish athleticism and eye-catching finesse — a deadly combination that could give the Eastern Conference nightmares for years to come. But this promising duo will have to wait for a bit longer until the former Duke star fully recovers from this devastating injury.
“For Jabari and the Bucks, this is not about this year,” said Horst. “This is about a 22-year-old kid who is one of the best young talents in the league, and making sure he comes back physically in the right way.”
The 6-foot-8 forward established himself as a scorer to be reckoned with, posting 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game during 51 games, before his season was cut short.
Parker could be the second coming to Stephen Curry, as the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NBA draft will enter his fourth season in the league, making him eligible for an extension prior to the Oct. 16 deadline. This could be a risky gamble that could prove a make-or-break move for the Bucks just like it was for the Golden State Warriors in 2012, when they inked Curry to a four-year, $44 million extension, reaping the benefits of what is now considered one of the biggest bargains in NBA history.