Jabari Parker’s versatility will be key to the Chicago Bulls success early on.

Questions abounded for the Chicago Bulls when they signed Jabari Parker. Was it wise to invest so much money in an oft injured player? Would Jabari be willing to concede shots if it translated into winning? Is he capable of playing at a high level on the defensive side of the ball.

All of these are legitimate questions that will linger throughout the season. But one concern that will be put to rest early is the position Parker will play. Whether we believe that Parker is best suited at the small forward or power forward position has all of a sudden become irrelevant with the sudden injury to Lauri Markkanen. That’s because Parker believes that he can thrive playing in both spots.

The jury is still out on that. However Bulls fans can take some solace in the fact that statistically, Markkanen has thrived playing the four spot. But the Bulls will face some challenges with parker acclimating himself to this position. It’s definitely not the role that the Bulls had slated for him to execute a potentially potent Bulls offense.

There’s going to be a learning curve as was noted by Fred Hoiberg. “I’ve really been trying to get him to play one position and learn (small forward) because it’s so much different. You have to get out in front of the ball running the wing. Now he’s got to change his approach as the in bounder and he’ll be trailing the play more,” Hoiberg said. “So we’re going to have to keep it very basic (Sunday).”

One thing is for sure. The Bulls principles on offense won’t change. They want to play with more pace and space. Playing with multiple ball handlers on the court who can make plays for others will be crucial.

The Bulls have an opportunity ahead of themselves

Sure the injury to Markkanen is a bummer. It will be difficult to replace his athleticism, shooting stroke, and sheer confidence. But the Bulls played without his services for extended stretches last year, and they’ll just have to do the same once again. They have the pieces in place to be successful.

That means that Parker and Zach Lavine will have to show the Bulls that they are willing to take their games to the next level offensively. Kris Dunn will have to remain healthy and continue his development as a ball-handler. His ball hawking defense will surely help them though. Bobby Portis will have to elevate his game off the bench, which he has shown to be capable of doing. And Wendell Carter Jr. will have to continue to show the same brilliance he displayed throughout Summer League.

Should all of these things happen, the Bulls will be able to weather the storm until Lauri makes his return.

Photos by clutchpoints.com and chicagotribune.com

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