It's always fashionable to talk up your players once the trade deadline has passed, but you got the sense from Jason Kidd's pregame media session on Friday that the Bucks remain focused on building around the young duo of Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
"Those guys are vault guys. You don't start a conversation with Jabari or Giannis. Those guys are untradeable."
Hours later Parker and Antetokounmpo had proven their coach's point, combining for 41 points and 22 rebounds in the Bucks' narrow home defeat to the Hornets. While Antetokounmpo's 18 points, 11 boards and four assists felt like nothing new (in a very good way), Parker was the Bucks' star of the night with career highs in points (23) and rebounds (11).
It'd be disingenuous to say the Bucks were playing through Parker, but his activity on and off the ball were essential to him posting a new career-high with 10 made field goals. Six of those came from working the right (weak side) baseline for dunks and layups, an area where Parker has always excelled. Khris Middleton, Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis each set up Jabari after drawing strong side attention, and in the second half Parker also showed confidence from mid-range, shimmy-shaking Frank Kaminsky for a pair of pull-ups early in the third and adding another jumper from the left wing. One of those step-backs was particularly unstoppable, providing a reminder of the innate scoring sense that earned Parker the reputation of a can't-miss offensive prospect coming out of college.