Playoff contention has never been in the question for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The Cavs are now looking to rebuild by getting rid of bad contracts and veterans for draft picks, and taking risks on younger players. Part of that experiment should involve bringing in the No. 2 Overall Pick from the 2014 Draft, Jabari Parker.
Parker, only 23 years old, has a team option at the end of the season. The Cavs could see how he fits this season, and decide to keep him to pair with whoever they draft with their lottery pick in 2019. Parker plays best as a stretch four, and could fit in nicely as a partner for Collin Sexton as the Cavs look for depth at the forward position.
Although Parker has struggled in the past, he has dealt with injuries for most of his early career. Scouts touted him as a top prospect who could one day develop into a Carmelo Anthony-type scorer, and he found a role with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to signing in Chicago. He showed promise from the perimeter, notching 36.5% and 38.3% in three point field goal percentage both seasons prior to 2018-2019.
Parker’s production sank when he came to the Bulls. Giannis Antetokounmpo would no longer be drawing help defenders for cleaner looks for perimeter shooters. His lack of elite shooting and defensive versatility in the new system caused him to fall out of the rotation.
Bringing him onto the Cavs could still help him develop into a star player. If he learns to play better out of the pick and roll/pick and pop, he and Sexton could be reliable scoring threat in the two-man game.
While Parker’s one-sided game may be showing weaknesses, he is still a young player that could develop in the right situation. Giving him adequate looks on a team that isn’t looking to contend will help improve Parker’s game and build his confidence back up after a shaky stint with his hometown Bulls.
Adding Jabari Parker would bolster a group of young players that includes Larry Nance Jr. and Cedi Osman as well, but the Cavs would likely have to part with Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson in order to secure Jabari Parker from the Bulls, along with taking on Robin Lopez’s expiring contract.
While Matthew Dellevadova would step in to fill the ball handling void, they could make up for their already lackluster defense with quicker, more versatile offensive lineups. Lopez is no slouch on the defensive end. Shipping out Clarkson would solve chemistry issues between him and Sexton, and acquiring Lopez’s expiring contract would clear the Thompson’s albatross contract for some smart free agent signings.
The Cavaliers need an identity. They ought to be aggressively looking for young players who can thrive in the right situation. Taking a chance at Parker could hurt, but keeping Thompson and Clarkson on the roster for those contracts hurts even more.