Philadelphia 76ers: With James gone, is Jabari Parker worth the risk?

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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With LeBron James now a Laker, should the Philadelphia 76ers go all in on stealing 23-year-old restricted free agent Jabari Parker from the Bucks?

Man, what a terrible way to close out the first day of NBA free agency.

After spending the entire day waiting around for news about where LeBron James would play next, and receiving some false hope after the Philadelphia 76ers‘ representatives met with his camp earlier in the day, the King is taking his talents to Los Angeles to join the Lakers for the next four seasons.

However, just because free agency’s biggest target is off the board, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still immense value left to be had on the open market.

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Far from it, in fact.

Even after resigning J.J. Redick and acquiring Wilson Chandler over the last few days, the Sixers should be rife with suitors eager to join a playoff favorite in a now LeBron-less Eastern Conference.

One of those players could be Jabari Parker.

Once one of the most highly recruited players in the country, Parker played his lone season of college basketball at Duke, averaging an impressive 19.1 points, and 8.7 rebounds per game as a do-it-all forward in 2013. This impressive stat line, when coupled with his astronomical potential ultimately earned Parker a chance to go 2nd overall in the 2014 NBA Draft to the Milwaukee Bucks, one spot above Joel Embiid.

However, since entering the league, Parker’s been an incredibly polarizing player.

On one hand, when healthy, Parker is an absolute force, as highlighted by his 2016-2017 season where he averaged over 20 points and six rebounds a game as a third-year player.

But none of that matters if Parker isn’t on the court, and unfortunately for Bucks fans, he’s been on the court far less then they would have hoped.

After missing the better parts of two seasons due to a pair of knee injuries, Parker has only appeared in 183 of a possible 328 games (55.7 percent) for the Bucks over his four-year tenure with the team, appearing in over 52 games only once over said time period.

This, unfortunately, has made his value quite hard to quantify moving forward.

Parker’s lack of availability, when coupled with the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo as a legitimate NBA superstar forward has placed the fourth-year forward’s position with the team in jeopardy moving forward. If a team like the 76ers were to go all in on a pricey offer sheet, we could be looking at something incredibly rare in the modern NBA: a surging former top-two pick changing teams for no compensation.

After locking the 76ers’ best bench scoring big man, Ersan Ilyasova, into a three-year, $21 million deal on the first day of free agency, the Bucks currently sit at roughly $10 million over the NBA’s current $101,869,000 salary cap, with important starters like Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe potentially heading towards free agency next offseason. While that may not be a big deal for a team like Philly, New York or LA, that’s a big no-no for a small market team like Milwaukee who simply can’t afford to pay the luxury tax.

This makes Parker a perfect candidate for an offer sheet takedown.

But if the 76ers do decide to put in an offer for Parker, as they reportedly have interest in doing, would he even be a good fit with the team’s young nucleus moving forward? Let’s evaluate Parker’s strengths against his weaknesses to see how he’d fit on Brett Brown‘s roster moving forward.