LAS VEGAS — Though he remained his typical respectful and polite self when being interviewed by reporters after Sunday night’s Bucks loss to the Suns at Cox Pavillion on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas — a trend that would continue Monday against Utah, as Milwaukee fell for the third straight time in as many games in NBA summer-league play — it was clear that Jabari Parker was perturbed by dealing with something he’s not used to experiencing much in his young basketball career.
The winner of four consecutive Illinois state championships at Simeon Career Academy before his lone college-basketball season at Duke, Parker hasn’t found things easy in his first NBA action, but remains resolute that things will turn around eventually.
“I’ve got to keep my confidence going. It doesn’t matter about the misses. It’s about the next shot,” he explained. “It’s been an experience. You just can’t ever get too mad because at the end of the day, it’s just working on my game and getting into the new style of play.”
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The humble Chicago native, the second overall pick in last month’s draft and viewed by observers as having an understanding of the game beyond his years, didn’t cite his shot selection or defense as the key to improvement.
“I think film because I really don’t know where I’m going to play on the floor, so finding open areas, just taking my time, looking at where I can be more effective,” Parker said. “It’s just that awareness. It takes time because there’s a three-second rule, both on offense and on defense. So I’ve just got to find different ways to get myself going, but not forcing it.”
But despite his individual struggles and the young Bucks’ growing pains as a whole, things are looking up in Milwaukee, as Parker and second-year forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are expected to complement each other well and have already exhibited signs of burgeoning on-court chemistry.
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“It’s been real good lately,” Parker acknowledged of the pair’s comfort level together following the Phoenix loss. “We did a real good job complementing each other, but I think with time, we’ll be able to grow.”
Parker has something in common with his new head coach, Jason Kidd, who was the No. 2 draft pick back in 1994 and went to an inexperienced Dallas team that wasn’t very successful out of the gates, even with the future Hall of Fame point guard passing to standouts Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson. A student of the game, Parker will likely get a first-hand account of what pitfalls to avoid while being placed in a situation where he’s expected to be a franchise savior from Kidd.
“Not yet,” Parker said. “I haven’t got a chance to pick his brain, but I think in the future, I will.”