The Minnesota Timberwolves need to boost their offense. Jabari Parker is a proven scorer who has been exiled in Chicago. Could there be a match?
Despite having a reputation as a solid offensive team, the Minnesota Timberwolves are firmly middle-of-the-pack when it comes to both offensive rating and points per game.
The Chicago Bulls happen to have a 23-year-old, former 20-point-per-game scorer languishing on the bench.
Jabari Parker is averaging 14.2 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field over 34 appearances for the Bulls, but he has been pulled out of the rotation entirely more than once this season.
But the team is thin in the front court. Outside of KAT and Wiggins, there isn’t much of a scoring punch, as Taj Gibson is more noted for his defense and rebounding. Dario Saric is a good player and the future of the four-spot in Minnesota, but is probably better fitted as a complementary piece next to Towns than an afterthought coming off the bench.
The Wolves should be looking to make a move to add offense, and Jabari Parker could be a solid short-term option. After all, there’s motivation here on both sides.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the worst teams in the NBA and are tanking the remainder of the season for the pick of Duke’s R.J. Barrett or Zion Williamson. (And if they aren’t, they should be.)
For Parker, he’s looking to re-establish himself as a player who belongs in the league. The No. 2-overall pick has been plagued by injures for much of his five-year career. Of late, he’s also spent time in coach Jim Boylen’s doghouse for lack of hustle and not playing much defense.
To be fair, Parker does not rotate well on switches and has the worst Real Plus-Minus mark among power forwards on ESPN. This season on the league-worst Bulls, Parker has gone from starting power forward, to a bench player, to falling completely out of the rotation.
In the likelihood that he remains on the Bulls, the team will not pick up the option on his contract, so Parker will then go back on the market as a free agent. Considering the season he’s having, he won’t get paid at a $20 million a year clip moving forward. But a motivated Parker could add the scoring punch the Wolves have been sorely lacking at power forward.
Starting over with an opportunity to play for a Wolves franchise that is competing for the playoffs could re-invigorate Parker. Being in a new environment and playing around All-Stars like Towns and Rose, Parker will get more opportunities for open looks and be the playmaker that made him the overall No. 2 pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.
Don’t forget that Parker is just two seasons removed from averaging 20.1 points a game. This season, he is averaging 14.7 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in just 28.2 minutes per game. He’s shooting 46 percent from the field but has upped that number to 54 percent over the past month. Parker also has the ability to stretch the floor as a career 34.1 percent 3-point shooter.
The Timberwolves could make this trade work by swapping Gibson and Anthony Tolliver. Then, they could slide Dario Saric into the starting lineup and bring Parker off the bench, using him as instant offense along with Rose while Saric’s more well-rounded game would complement Karl-Anthony Towns in the starting lineup.
Admittedly, trading for Parker is a gamble, but he is a proven scorer and an upgrade over Gibson, who is not in the Wolves plan for the future.
If a motivated Parker fits in well with the team, plays defense and simply rotates on the pick-and-roll, he could bolster the Wolves’ chances of making the playoffs and possibly even get them to bring him back for next season.