If Boston Celtics fans were looking for Jabari Parker to rediscover the magic that made him the No. 2 overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft last season, they were left disappointed. The 26-year-old definitely had his moments off the bench for Brad Stevens but, on the whole, his presence had little impact on the Celtics’ spiraling season.
Still, when August 24 came and went with Parker apparently remaining on the roster, $100,000 of his salary for the 2021-22 season became guaranteed. That may be a paltry sum in the NBA world but it’s still something. And it left fans to wonder whether the Parker experiment may yet continue despite the ho-hum return last season.
According to one team insider, there’s a better than average chance that it will.
Robb: Parker More Likely to Return Than Not
For his latest mailbag, MassLive’s Brian Robb was asked about Parker’s future by multiple readers. His response indicated that there was a real possibility the oft-injured former Duke standout would be back in Celtics green next season.
“The Celtics obviously have an interest in keeping him for the season by letting that money trigger,” he wrote. “But cutting him after training camp is still a very real option if he doesn’t earn a spot.”
Robb further opined that Parker’s odds of securing a roster spot are bolstered by the forward’s ability to generate his own offense.
“For now, I’d say his odds of making the team are pretty good since the Celtics lack reliable scoring depth at backup power forward,” he added. “Grant Williams is there but we know he isn’t much of a factor with his scoring or shot creation. Parker provides a viable alternative on that front off the bench.”
That said, the team’s continued tinkering could work against Parker. If Stevens is able to find a better fit before the remaining $1.1 million of his ’21-22 salary becomes guaranteed, it could leave Parker without a spot. For now, though, it looks like Robb is betting on a return.
“League sources continue to express to MassLive that the team is pursuing additional roster tweaks at the back end of the roster and adding another forward could put Parker’s spot in Jeopardy. For now, I give him a better than 50/50 shot of making the team with a trade of Carsen Edwards or Kris Dunn being the other viable alternatives for now to cut the roster down to 15 barring another trade.”
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Parker’s Abbreviated Run With the Cs Last Season
After languishing on the bench with the Sacramento Kings, Parker was waived and eventually found his way to Beantown in search of redemption as a player. Again, that great Parker renaissance ultimately didn’t occur. However, the seven-year vet did show that he can still get buckets.
In 10 games with Boston, Parker put up 6.4 points in just 13.8 minutes per game. He was also a 54.2% shooter.
It may just be a case of small sample size theater, but the Celtics were 2.9 points per 100 possessions better when Parker was on the floor compared to when he sat. Moreover, his defensive rating checked in at 99.3, an eye-popping number for a player who has long struggled to make an impact on that end of the floor.
Still, Parker only played 138 total minutes with the Cs and largely went toe-to-toe with backups.
It’s worth noting, though, that Parker played slightly more minutes in Boston’s four playoff games and put up a respectable 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest on shooting splits of 62/40/75.