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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Philadelphia 76ers
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /


When healthy, Jabari Parker’s is one of the more electrifying young forwards in the league, and at only 23-years-old, he has the potential to get a whole lot better.

Standing a very impressive 6-foot-8, and weighing as much as Embiid (at least according to his official player profile) Parker is athletic enough to play all three backcourt positions and remain productive at either end of the court, a major boon for a team like the Sixers who require position flexibility from their players due to Simmons’ unique playing style.

Averaging a very solid stat sheet of 17.2 points and 5.7 rebounds over his last 82 games (spread over two seasons), Parker is the kind of player who very seldom becomes available as a free agent before entering his prime, let alone as a restricted free agent four years removed from college. And with some luck, Parker could quietly blossom into a marquee-level talent outside the judging eyes of a disappointed Bucks fanbase.

He’s just that good.

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Often compared to future Hall of Famers like Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce during the pre-draft process, Parker looked like the kind of fluid, dynamic forward that very few teams have been able to cultivate over the last decade and could blossom into an absolute nightmare in ISO situations.

With Embiid and Simmons already on the roster, would it even be fair to add another unguardable chess piece who can score at will in the paint? Fairer than Golden State adding Boogie Cousins on a mid-level exception I’d reckon.

Though the 76ers starting five appears to be more or less set moving forward, barring a blockbuster trade for Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler that appears unlikely at best, Parker could slot in as an absolutely unreal sixth man coming off the bench, and give the team optionality from game to game moving forward. After losing the team’s fourth and sixth best scorers from last season, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova to the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks respectively, Parker could immediately come in and give Philly arguably the most dynamic bench scorer in the entire league, capable of taking over games with a little help from some well placed dimes from T.J. McConnell, Markelle Fultz, and the youthful duo of Shake Milton and Landry Shamet.

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The owner of a 22.1 PTS in 2017-2018, .5 higher than his usage percent, Parker has consistently proven that he’s capable of shouldering a heavy load as a primary scorer, while also making fairly good choices on the offensive end of the court.

Though he’s still developing as an outside shooter (more on that later), Parker’s presence could give the 76ers yet another versatile chess piece, capable of playing multiple positions both with the team’s starting five and as a truly transcendent bench scorer for one of the Eastern Conference’s 2018 favorites.

And if his knees can hold up? We could be looking at a top-15 level talent for the next decade. That’s a risk worth taking if you ask me.