Sometimes the roughest moments can create the best. Whether you agree or not just yet, Jabari Parker is not only the perfect match for the Milwaukee Bucks, but for the community and entire state of Wisconsin.
I had an unfortunate mix up this morning on my way to WTMJ headquarters to head out with the station’s photographer to Parker’s introductory press conference. That forced me to drive my own vehicle toward downtown Milwaukee and sprint down the sidewalks of the city. All right, I didn't run in my suit, but I walked pretty fast.
Along the way I witnessed fans rushing down the block, too. I sped up because I wanted to be on time, they sped up because they knew it was.
There were a lot of emotions from fans and citizens in the city of Milwaukee as I sat in the upper level of Milwaukee Public Market Friday morning. One parent mentioned to me how ecstatic he is that his 12-year-old son will be able to watch a possible future multiple All-Star player in his home city. Another told me he cut out of his job mid-day to attend Parker’s press conference. He didn't get fired, so that’s a good sign (I followed up with him to make sure everything was cool).
Besides the NBA Draft lottery, that was the most electric scene I've been able to witness in some time. It wasn't the loudest crowd I've heard, that’s for sure (the building obviously had a capacity), but it was definitely the most positive and uplifting I've been able to be around in my three years following the Bucks. OK, it felt like I was sitting in church.
The Bucks need a lot of things. A scorer is on the Mt. Rushmore, but not just a regular scorer, they need somebody that’s willing to pick up the pace during the third and fourth quarter – critical moments in games that the team struggled with constantly last year that often ended in losses. The franchise needs a true leader, and a person that this team revolves around and feeds off of. They need a face. They need character. They needed Jabari Parker.
So what will Wes Edens and Marc Lasry do to keep Parker satisfied with the team in Milwaukee? That’s what matters the most. They've mentioned building the roster up through the draft, so who else will they add going forward to their core? Those are just a few quick thoughts that ran through my head today. They have their man and possible savior, but how will they feed and provide for him?
Parker’s opportunity here can either flame out in the next few years if the team remains non-competitive, or he can reshape the franchise just as Kevin Durant did in Oklahoma City.
The second option seems more likely.