Jabari Parker gave an honest answer when asked what confused him the most this past season.
At Milwaukee Bucks exit interviews in St. Francis on Thursday, Parker was genuine when asked if defensive work gave him the most trouble during 2015-16.
"You know what?" Parker said. "Yeah, I wouldn't even lie."
Parker said most of his struggles came during the early portion of the year — the time he was working his way back from ACL surgery — but thought he made positive advancements the last few months.
"That was towards the beginning," he explained, "but I think towards the end I got a lot better. There's always room for improvement."
At 6-foot-8, 250, Parker is built well enough and has the athleticism to be solid. With Giannis Antetokounmpo defending most power forwards, Parker shifted more to the wing as the season concluded. That has left Parker vulnerable to defend wings one-on-one, but it's also provided Antetokounmpo the ability to use his pterodactyl length, quickness and instincts closer to the basket and in pick-and-roll situations, two areas where Parker has struggled.
Another area Parker has struggled is simply on-court awareness. Too many times on defense he switched poorly, reacted late or lost track of his opponent on the floor. This improves with repetition and having a communicator on the floor (which the Bucks didn't have) helps, too.
When asked specifically about the biggest challenge for him, Parker said the following:
"That I can do it. By knowing, by trying to do it. I can really be a defender. I've got the ability, I've got the effort to try and be great on both ends of the floor."
Parker's never been a great defender, but looking to regain their prominent defensive form, the Bucks would certainly like for him to make strides in that category over the summer.
"Defense wins championships," Parker said, "and that's an aspect I want to grow in."