The Bucks closed out their Summer League trip Friday with a victory. I'm serious, they totally beat the Golden State Warriors 79-74. It was technically the first Bucks win since Apr. 11th, and it ended on a few strong plays from their best player available.
I say available because Giannis Antetokounmpo was not with the team. He had left Vegas a few days early to head back to Greece to train with the Greek national team in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. That left the Bucks with Jabari...and the other guys. Chris Wright (16p/8r) had a surprisingly productive game, as did Johnny O'Bryant (10p/10r), but the focus was once again on the No. 2 pick.
Parker's best moments came in the beginning and end of the game. He started off with a few jumpers from the elbow, which has been an area the Bucks are looking to exploit with Parker. In that pinch post position, Parker has the ability to make a variety of plays, and he's starting to understand that this is a position the Bucks like him in.
"[The Bucks] want me to be able to use all my tools," Parker said. "Being able to be on different areas of the floor, complement different guys. To be able to set ball screens, cross-screens. I can make plays and get open for shots. I'm pretty much trying to be unlimited, working on my game."
Parker displayed his versatile scoring ability, and helped the Bucks get out to an early lead that they didn't relinquish for the rest of the game. But lordy did they allow it to get interesting.
The Bucks led 45-21 at the half, but let Parker get some rest and decided to put a Jordan Taylor/Gilbert Brown/CJ Williams/Kenny Kadji/Kenny Frease lineup for most of the third quarter. It went...well...um...
I call this screenshot "Summer League Despair". This IS the 9th circle. pic.twitter.com/pW1DdT7yFM— Adam Reisinger (@AdamReisinger) July 18, 2014
Golden State cut the lead down to within single digits midway through the fourth quarter, but Parker again rose to the occasion and gave Bucks fans a few highlight plays to head into the dog days of the off-season with.
In the end, Parker finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds. That's cool.
- This was probably Parker's best game, and it really isn't even close. He hasn't been as dominant as people were hoping for, but he showed glimpses of why he had so much hype coming into the pros. He'll be okay. He's only 19. Just because he has polish to his game doesn't mean he isn't raw in some respects. Give it time.
- Johnny O'Bryant will probably be the only other guy on this roster to make the actual team other than the guys already under contract.
- It feels nice to get one win, but acting coach Sean Sweeney came away with his focus on something far more important:
"Winning is always good, but this is a bigger picture. Summer League is, you know, development. It's starting to put a system in place, and it's the early stages of what you're trying to do [to] build your program. Winning is great, and the guys did a great job for the last 14 days.
"Short term, winning is great. But long term, we felt like we got some things accomplished that we wanted to."
Keep in mind that the long-term picture is the only important thing to take away from Summer League. The exciting young guys showed their promise, even if at times they also struggled. They'll join a pro roster with a solid amount of young talent, and they'll hopefully grow as a team under a new (and young) coaching staff.
Most importantly, they'll get a fresh start to build something new. That's the most important victory of this off-season.