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Jabari Parker highlights Bucks open scrimmage with dunks and threes -- but won't play in Tuesday preseason opener vs. Bulls

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

If Saturday's open scrimmage confirmed that Jabari Parker's comeback is going just fine, Monday's announcement that Parker wouldn't play in Tuesday's preseason opener in Chicago confirmed that neither Parker nor the Bucks are going to rush anything, either.

After completing another full practice on Monday, Parker revealed that he wouldn't play in his hometown Tuesday night, though his performance in Saturday's annual Bucks Fan Fest and open scrimmage suggested he's not far from being ready for game action. Playing in front of a matinee crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday, Parker dunked twice in the opening three minutes, hit two threes later in the game and finished with a game-high 15 points, offering further evidence that he's finding his way back into form after knee surgery in January. Though he won't play tomorrow, Parker could make his debut on Saturday when the Bucks return home to play the Pistons at the BC.

You can watch the whole thing over at Bucks.com and check out some highlights I grabbed below:

Parker added another catch-and-shoot jumper from 20 feet, and overall I can't recall if he missed more than one or two shots. It's not say that he wasn't rusty of course: his handle looked loose. he made a couple bad passes, and both of his dunks came off two feet, perhaps reflecting an abundance of caution in exposing his left leg (which any right-handed player will prefer for one-footed leaping). All the usual scrimmage caveats apply of course -- the defensive intensity was a ways from regular season level, guys were over-passing inside, and no one was really contesting shots at the rim. But the important thing is that he continues to make progress without running into any setbacks, and that's certainly what we've seen over the past week.

After the game Jason Kidd said exactly what you'd expect/hope regarding Parker. Charles Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel reports:

"For those who have seen him for the last three weeks, this is the way he's looked," Kidd said. "People see him for the first time probably are in awe.

"But he looks great and he is getting better each time he takes the floor."

Some quick thoughts on the rest of the scrimmage:

  • Michael Carter-Williams exited in the first half after coming down awkwardly on a tip attempt, though he never hit the ground and was back on the bench later in the game. Early on he hadn't appeared particularly interested in taking any shots, which may or may not imply anything about his mindset heading into the season. On the one hand he shouldn't be looking to jack up many shots with the weapons at his disposal; on the other hand this is the sort of setting where point guards often are overly deferential.
  • Greg Monroe figures to be the odds-on favorite to lead the Bucks in scoring this season, but his passing might have been the more interesting thing we saw on Saturday. Early on he made a couple of very nice passes from the high post to cutters, and then showed good awareness finding Damien Inglis for a dunk moments later.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo did this:
  • Jerryd Bayless wore long pants and hit a couple spot-up threes, so you know he's taking his "veteran leader" role seriously.

Mayo rejoins team, goes through practice smoothly | Journal-Sentinel
After missing media day and the first day of practice due to a personal matter, O.J. Mayo was back at practice in Madison last week. Meanwhile, Parker meanwhile was held out of the afternoon practice after participating without incident in the morning. Not to worry though -- as Saturday suggested, Parker is doing well

After the morning session, Kidd said Jabari Parker was able to go through a full practice. Parker wanted to go in Wednesday night's session but the coaches did not let him.

Jabari looks great," Kidd said. "I think we're all in amazement of what he's doing at this point. For him to be back doing what he's doing ... it's good to be young.

"He's playing at a very high level and I think we're all excited of what today holds for him, and that's being out on the floor playing the game that he loves."

Bucks relying on Jabari Parker to elevate franchise : Wisconsin State Journal
Speaking of Parker, he's kind of important, eh?  Tom Oates reports:

"When he went out with his injury, I think he was fourth in the league in dunks," Hammond said. "He’s an above-average, premier athlete in this league. His skill set is only going to improve. I think you could see he’s the kind of guy that hopefully you can throw the ball to at the end of the game and he’ll help you finish the game."

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