ESPN’s Marc Stein confirmed via twitter that Parker, 19, tore his ACL early in the third quarter of a 96-94 win against Phoenix Suns on Monday.
After playing a year at the Duke University, Parker has blossomed into a decent NBA player and as the season progressed, he became an imperative member of Jason Kidd’s rotation. Through his first 25 games in the NBA, the second overall pick is behind Brandon Knight in points and steals per game, with 12.3 and 1.24 respectively, and is third in rebounding with 5.5 boards per game. And he was putting up these numbers in just over 29 minutes of play.
According to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Parker was one of the best offensive players in December.
“Entering Monday he was shooting 60.6% from the field in December (40 for 66), which was the fourth-highest percentage in the league for players with 50 or more field goal attempts,” Gardner wrote
Now that he is sidelined, the rest of the season looks bleak for the Bucks.
A side that has brilliantly evened out its scoring will have to rely on either a starter or one of its bench players to pick up the scoring.
The first player that comes to mind is veteran O.J. Mayo. Coming off an impressive first season at BMO Harris Bradley Center, the shooting guard is not having the best season under his new head coach, starting just 11 of 25 games.
Nonetheless, Mayo is averaging 10.9 points per game, while shooting 40 percent from the field. A few more minutes on the court and more shooting opportunities will definitely boost Mayo’s numbers. Freak of nature Giannis Antetokounmpo and Knight’s production will also have to improve.
With all that said, making the playoffs seems like an impossible mission for Kidd’s men, even in the prosaic Eastern Conference. Parker’s presence was just that paramount.
Bleacherreport.com’s Grant Hughes perfectly summarizes the type of player that Parker is. Hughes wrote: “Drives with either hand, side-steps, leaners, spins, floaters—name the shot, Parker showed it off in his first 25 games. The Carmelo Anthony comparisons were hasty, but they weren't crazy. At 6'8", the 19-year-old has legitimate guard skills, and he knows how to use his bulk to create space.”
Take away his, size, huge potential and the budding chemistry with Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks look like a team destined to fall apart as the season heats up.
Some might argue that his injury could be a blessing in disguise because the team performs on both ends of the court with Parker on the bench, but that is an uneducated assessment. For a player that still getting the hang of things in physically gruesome league, Parker’s positive impact is greater than his gaffes. And also, he’s bound to slipup because he’s in the developmental stage of his career.
With 57 games left, the Bucks might be able to remain contenter for a long period of time, but they’ll fade away at the end of the season.
Things could change for the better is Milwaukee manages to pick up a proven scorer, but that seems highly unlikely.