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Help! I’m talking myself into Jabari Parker.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

When the news broke Jabari Parker was joining the Wizards, I didn’t think much of it. The Wizards needed Parker’s expiring deal to get off Otto Porter’s money the next two years. He was a means to an end. Nothing more.

Plus, Parker has developed a reputation as the wrong player to get too invested in. He takes inefficient shots, hasn’t adapted well to playing in a confined role, and he doesn’t play defense. He’s like a parody of Carmelo Anthony without the accolades.

It’s easy to dismiss him from a distance, but since he’s arrived in Washington, he’s played well. He’s averaging 12.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game with a .559 true shooting percentage, and he’s doing it in a thrilling way.

It doesn’t make sense for the Wizards to pick up Parker’s option, but they could work out a new deal to keep him after this season. Should they, though? The logician in me wants to say no for all the obvious reasons that kept him from sticking with the Bulls and Bucks, but I keep convincing myself he should stay. Here are a few arguments I’ve been bouncing in my head.

  • The Wizards will need someone other than Bradley Beal who can get their own shot. Parker may not be perfect, but he can be the go-to guy when Beal isn’t on the floor, which seems like an ideal setup for both parties next season.
  • He is only 23 years old. Victor Oladipo (another former #2 overall pick) was an overpaid, underachiever with the Thunder at age 23. There could still be some untapped potential there.
  • The Bucks (pre-Mike Budenholzer) and the Bulls weren’t ideal environments for Paker’s development. Although the Wizards aren’t renowned talent developers, they’ve had success rehabilitating the careers of talented players on the verge of flaming out like DeShawn Stevenson, Martell Webster, Drew Gooden, and Mike Scott.
  • He is exactly the type of player the Wizards should pick up next season with so much up in the air. If he improves next season, the Wizards can flip him for an asset. If he doesn’t, he takes up a roster spot during a season they’re in flux like he did in Chicago, but cheaper.

I know it’s probably a bad idea to talk myself into Jabari Parker, but that won’t stop me from trying.