These were the words of Jabari Parker following the media addressing him about if he was willing to accepting any role, referring to him coming off the bench, as he did in Chicago's blowout win over the Pacers on Wednesday.
This is disappointing, but it won't be a lingering issue as long as all parties involved move forward with clarity.
It is OK for Parker to be upset with coming off the bench, a player confident in himself should want to be a starter. And coming off of two ACL surgeries, Parker came to Chicago hoping to get an opportunity to be a huge part of the Bulls young core. Through four preseason games, Parker has yet to shoot near even 40 percent from the field. But with such a small body of work, no one is saying the Bulls should give up on Parker.
Four preseason games obviously don't mean a ton, and after four seasons in the league he is still just 23 years old. But Parker needs to realize the great opportunity he has ahead of him, and make the best of the situation. The Bulls may have overpaid a little bit, but it's OK since they had the money. But it's not like Parker had a ton of suitors to choose from. He should move forward viewing this 2-year, $40 million contract with the Bulls as a tryout for the whole league.
Let's think about what Bobby Portis has said in the past regarding coming off the bench versus what Parker has said publicly. Portis is a player who is very productive on the floor, and could be starting for many teams in the league. He, much like Parker, has had roadblocks in his career but has not let them affect his work ethic or attitude. Even after the aftermath of the Nikola Mirotic incident that saw Portis become a constant bench fixture made the statement: "I get to come off the bench and score a lot. Who doesn’t like to score the ball? That’s a fun gig,” Parker doesn't have to make statements about being thrilled with a possible 6th man role, but saying "no comment" to such a direct question is simply unacceptable.
One of the things you are taught early on as an NBA player is to never say "no comment". You are allowing anyone who is not you—be it friends, family, media or otherwise—to control the narrative by commenting for you.
The Jabari Parker signing was never about just Parker, it's about him meshing his talents with the current roster to breed long-term cohesiveness. While Parker has not shot the ball well, he and the team as a whole did play better against Indiana. And that type of improvement is what has been expected from day one. With players this young, the Bulls front office is hoping to see a gradual increase in improvement on a steady basis. The inconsistency has to go away.
But remember, this is not necessarily a huge deal. Parker is an extremely talented player, and we have yet to see how he performs once the real games begin. If Parker is again asked how he feels about coming off the bench, being honest is going to be the best practice. For this Bulls team to reach their full potential this season, Parker will need to bring along his unique blend of shot-creating, playmaking and rebounding ability. Whether he comes of the bench or starts, the sky's the limit for Parker.
It is simply up to him to run with the opportunity.