ATLANTA — Jannero Pargo didn’t make much of an impact for the Hawks in their 93-76 loss Saturday night, going 0-for-6 from the floor.
But the Chicago native and erstwhile Bulls guard, who signed a second 10-day contract with Atlanta earlier in the day, is simply happy to have an opportunity.
“It’s part of the business. It’s nothing I’m not used to,” Pargo said before the game. “I’ve been around this league for a long time, so I just take my opportunities as they come and I’m thankful for them.”
After starting the season with Washington, which picked him up after starting point guard John Wall’s preseason knee injury, then cut him in November, early in the regular season, Pargo was out of work until the Hawks signed him to his first 10-day contract on Jan. 21, after losing Lou Williams to a season-ending ACL injury.
Pargo, who previously played with Atlanta in his professional journeyman career -- he's also played for the Bulls in separate stints -- started his first stint with a bang, scoring 16 points and helping the Hawks beat Minnesota in his debut appearance.
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He’s been trending downward statistically since then, but the South Side native — he’s from Englewood, the same neighborhood as Bulls superstar Derrick Rose — is known as a high-character locker-room veteran, as well as an instant-offense scorer off the bench.
“I think it’s going pretty good. I’ve been able to come in and contribute, and help this team win a couple games, so it’s been going pretty good so far,” he said. “[Signing with Atlanta] felt great, especially being out, not playing for a couple months. Being able to come back and make that type of impact, it was a great feeling and I thank God that I was able to have that opportunity.”
While his college roommate at Arkansas and former Hawks teammate Joe Johnson is no longer around — he now plays for the Nets, who the Bulls faced Friday in Brooklyn — Pargo indicated the adjustment wasn’t difficult for him.
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“We still play inside-out. We’ve got bigs in ‘Smooth’ [Josh Smith] and Al [Horford], who can score inside and make plays, as well,” he explained. “It’s fun, playing with these guys who make the right plays.”
While Pargo wasn’t with the Hawks when the Bulls made them a victim of a historic defensive outing at the United Center last month, he acknowledged that the loss was a motivating factor Saturday, though the night didn’t turn out the way Atlanta wanted.
“We definitely have it in the back of our minds, the last game and it wasn’t pretty, so it’s definitely a chance to make up for that, to come out and play hard, and play with the energy and effort that’s needed to compete with the Chicago Bulls team,” he said before the game. “I think it helps in the beginning of the game. The energy is high, the emotion is high, but as the game wears on, you have to try to sustain that and playing against a team led by Coach Thibodeau, you have to play the game for 48 minutes.”
Pargo popped into the visiting locker room at Philips Arena after the Bulls’ win and joked around with his old teammates, which makes sense, considering the fact that he still monitors their progress.
“I’m a Chicago fan, so Bulls, Bears, White Sox, I always keep up with them, no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “They’re doing a good job. Kirk and Nate and Teague all have been doing a good job of collectively making up for Derrick. Their bigs are always doing a great job, so I think they’re doing a surprisingly good job and they should be really strong when Derrick gets back.”
A good friend of Joakim Noah, Pargo expressed his joy at the center being named to his first All-Star Game.
“Very deserving. He’s a big that does it all,” he said. “He makes plays, rebounds, plays hard with a lot of energy and effort, so I’m definitely happy for him.”