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PODCAST: Helping Jabari Parker and previewing the Pelicans

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of concern from Bucks fans regarding what they have seen in the Bucks’ first three games. Little, other than Giannis Antetokounmpo’s play, has gone according to plan thus far this season. With that in mind, we set out to attack one of those problems in the latest Locked on Bucks.

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Jabari Parker has struggled thus far this season. He is currently averaging 13.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game, which are roughly the same numbers he averaged last season (14.1/5.2/1.7). Unfortunately, those numbers are considerably less impressive than the numbers Parker was able to put up after the All-Star Break last season (18.9/6.6/2.2). Naturally, this must mean that SOMETHING IS WRONG, so we must try to fix it. I write that in jest because we are obviously just three games into the season and Parker could break out tonight against the Pelicans and put this all to rest, but nonetheless Frank and I tried our best and came up with a few ideas:

Push the pace. This is not okay.

During the preseason, we were told that the Bucks would be pushing the pace and looking to get out and run. Antetokounmpo would be pushing anytime he could and Parker would be grabbing rebounds and starting fastbreaks. That hasn’t really been the case and the clip above has been an all too common occurrence during Bucks games this season. Pushing the pace doesn’t just get Parker easier looks in transition, but it also gives the Bucks a longer time to create a good shot during an offensive possession, like we discussed yesterday.

Shoot open threes. Honestly, this piece of advice might be difficult to follow because it means Parker would be shooting literally every time he touches the ball, but he does need to set his feet once in a while and just shoot a three rather than always trying to catch on the move. The tendency is particularly problematic when the ball is just being swung to him and his off-ball action hasn’t already necessitated movement on his part.

The return of #BaselineBari. Parker is really good at timing cuts on the baseline and dunking on opponents. He has done it very rarely this season as the Bucks have focused on moving him up the floor and asking him to do more playmaking. A return to the baseline and catching passes rather than being the passer may help his confidence, but would obviously take away from his developmental opportunities as a playmaker.

Create situations where Parker should catch the ball on the move. Parker has a habit of moving his feet as he catches every single pass and, as mentioned above, that is not the best thing. Since he likes to do that, the Bucks should try to create situations where it would be ideal for Parker to catch on the move. Maybe an Iverson cut to a cleared out baseline. Put him the weak side by himself and run a pick and roll towards him giving him a chance to move with the ball or back cut if his defender gets lost.

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To end the podcast, we discussed the Bucks game against the Pelicans Tuesday night, including the supporting casts of both Anthony Davis and Antetokounmpo and the possible importance of the game. If you missed the game preview, check it out here.