Jabari Parker (11/04/15)

By Tom W. Brewer @Tom_W_Brewer
The return of Jabari Parker.

The moment Milwaukee Bucks fans have been waiting for is finally here: Yesterday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst and others reported that forward Jabari Parker will be returning to the lineup tonight in a home tilt against the 76ers. This will be Parker's first regular season action since tearing his ACL last December. Needless to say, Milwaukee fans feel like this:

The good news can't come soon enough for Milwaukee. The Bucks are off to a slow start and trail the Cavaliers, the Bulls, and the improved Pistons in a brutal Central Division. The second overall pick in the 2014 draft, Parker fits head coach Jason Kidd's vision of a future where every player guards all five positions and everyone on the Bucks' roster has a pterodactyl's wingspan.

At 6'8” and 250lbs, the former Dukie is a smooth, big-bodied wing with a killer step-back who is as comfortable from mid-range as he is around the rim. Along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams, Kris Middleton and fellow big man Greg Monroe, Parker is an important part of the blueprint for this young team. His comeback not only brings that blueprint to fruition, but it has implications for the entire Eastern Conference, and, of course, your NBA Daily Fantasy lineup.

What to expect from Parker

Before his injury, Parker was part of last year's Rookie of the Year conversation, an honor that eventually went to Andrew Wiggins. In 25 games, Parker averaged 12 points and five boards in about 30 minutes per outing. Keep in mind, he was doing this without Monroe demanding attention from defenders in the paint. More importantly, Brandon Knight was running the point. Since Parker last played in a meaningful game, Knight's been shipped to Phoenix and Carter-Williams has been brought into the fold. Parker and MCW have worked together in the preseason and in practice, but it may take some time for them to jell completely.

Don't expect the Bucks to unleash Parker right out of the gate. For now, Kidd is restricting the young phenom to 15-20 minutes a night and holding him out of back-to-backs. Expect Parker to take some time adjusting to new teammates and shaking the rust off, but it won't be long before he's adding more clips to an already-impressive highlight reel.

What Parker's return means for his teammates

Greg Monroe has to be giddy about the return of his young frontcourt partner. Once Monroe and Parker figure out their spacing, watch out. Parker is a good enough interior passer to dump a few passes to the Moose when defenders help in the paint. Plus, opposing teams have to respect his stroke, creating space for Monroe inside.

Parker feasts on high percentage shots. In his abbreviated 2014-15 campaign he hit 49% from the floor, overwhelmingly on attempts within 16 feet of the basket. This efficiency and awareness of his offensive skill set will result in more assists for guys like MCW, Giannis, and Monroe (who is an excellent passing big man).

But as Jabari giveth, Jabari taketh away. Restriction or no restriction, his minutes have to come from somewhere, so expect a dip in playing time and production for Chris Copeland and especially Johnny O'Bryant, who has been logging some serious playing time in Parker's absence.

Parker's Fantasy Value

When Parker comes back to form and starts playing a full load (in our case 28 minutes/game), you can expect numbers like these for him and his teammates.

  • Jabari Parker – 25.52 FP/G
  • Greg Monroe – 33.63 FP/G
  • Michael Carter-Williams – 32.76 FP/G
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – 29.58 FP/G

You can do a lot worse than Jabari Parker. Even if he only matches last year's numbers, he's a quality play at the second forward slot. He won't kill your salary cap, and he'll give you a steady offensive output most nights. The Milwaukee Bucks are counting on him to be a reliable part of their team. He could be part of yours too.