Jabari Parker

20 crazy (or are they...?) predictions for the NBA season

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USA TODAY

20 crazy (or are they...?) predictions for the NBA season

1. The Golden State Warriors will be better than ever this season and will repeat as NBA champions...but will have big time bumps on the road in the Western Conference.

2. Kevin Durant will be better and win his second Most Valuable Player award, even though Steph Curry is still the arbiter for Golden State’s culture.

3. LeBron James will add to his resume as being one of the top five players ever, if not higher, but won’t catch Michael Jordan for total MVPs (five)...

4. ...and Cleveland had better enjoy him this year, because come July, he’s headed out of Ohio.

5. Speaking of headed out of town, a coach will be fired after a year of leaguewide stability, for an underachieving team in the underachieving Eastern Conference...

6. ...In other words, Fred Hoiberg is safe!

7. The Eastern Conference tank-a-thon will be both ugly and necessary for a couple teams in desperate need of lottery luck, including the Bulls.

8. One of the tank-a-thon teams won’t have the stomach for the losing and will make a panic move, especially when incoming college stars Michael Porter Jr or Marvin Bagley show the slightest signs of struggling.

9. Lonzo Ball will look like a point guard in the mold of Jason Kidd, a guy everyone will flock to play with...and not even LaVar Ball can screw that up.

10. But he’ll try because he won’t shut up...and we’ll never stop listening.

10. Dennis Smith Jr. will be the best incoming rookie, but Ben Simmons will win Rookie of the Year in Philadelphia.

11. Kyrie Irving will formally enter the conversation as one of the league’s best point guards, in part because Brad Stevens will help him become a better facilitator...

12. Irving is (bear with me Chicago’s own Isiah Thomas) the greatest scorer in terms of skill set from the point guard spot in the history of the league

13. For different reasons, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will struggle with their new “helpful” teammates…But will be hell on earth in a seven-game series.

14. Remember this name: Caris Levert from the Brooklyn Nets.

15. Giannis Antetokounmpo was on my top-five MVP ballot last season…he’ll be higher this time around.

16. Jabari Parker will be traded from the Bucks this year, perhaps before he returns from injury…

17. Big names will be on the trading block from the center spot: DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond.

18. Drummond, though, will have a bounceback year in Detroit and improve from the free-throw line.

19. This year will prove the Bulls didn’t get enough in trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves (or TimberBulls/TimberTibs)...

20. But Zach LaVine will show he’s more than deserving of a max contract when he returns from injury.

Jabari Parker puts on free basketball camp in Chicago

Jabari Parker puts on free basketball camp in Chicago

Jabari Parker is making a positive impact in his hometown.  

The Milwaukee Bucks forward returned to Chicago last week to put on a free basketball camp for kids, drawing hundreds of young hoopers. The former Simeon star teamed up with his dad, Sonny, and the Jordan brand to make a difference in Chicago communities. 

"It's about the culture," Parker said. "Chicago has a rich culture through basketball, and my purpose is to enrich kids' lives and people's lives from the abilities I'm blessed with."  

Parker is recovering from his second torn ACL, but based on his moves in the video above, it seems as if his recovery is headed in the right direction. 

Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Bucks

Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Bucks

Watch as the Bulls take on the Bucks tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Rotations may change again. Thursday night saw Denzel Valentine (19 minutes) and Bobby Portis (23 minutes) enter the rotation, while Nikola Mirotic logged a DNP-CD. The results was an ugly, ugly loss. Will we see more rotation changes on Friday? Perhaps second-round pick Paul Zipser?

2. Slowing down Jabari/Giannis. The Bucks' two franchise players were electric on Thursday. Parker went for 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting and five rebounds, while Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds. In all they tallied 58 points on 46 shots, and made 5 of 9 triples. The Bulls need to find an answer quickly.

3. The back-to-back. The Bulls are 2-3 this year on the second half of back-to-backs, while the Bucks are 0-4 in such situations. Having a more veteran group knowing how to deal with back-to-backs will help. But right now the Bucks appear to be the more athletic and deeper team, which will work in their favor.

4. Build on that momentum. This one might be a stretch, but the Bulls were able to pull within eight of the Bucks in the fourth quarter. They won the final period, 31-20, which admittedly masked just how bad the performance was. But maybe that strong fourth quarter will give the team a boost out of the gates on Friday.

5. Tony Snell returns. OK, so the wing probably won't receive the kind of ovation Tom Thibodeau did on Tuesday. But it will be Snell's first trip back since being dealt for Michael Carter-Williams in the offseason. Snell had nine points and four rebounds in 31 minutes on Thursday.

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