How Jabari Parker's history with Danny Ainge, Jayson Tatum led him to Celtics

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Darren Hartwell
·2 min read
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How Jabari Parker's history with Ainge, Tatum led him to C's originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's too early to tell whether Jabari Parker can make a significant impact with the Celtics. But in context, the fact that he landed in Boston shouldn't be much of a surprise.

The Celtics signed Parker to a two-year contract last Friday after the Sacramento Kings waived him on March 25. He's looked solid through two games with the C's, with 19 total points and a plus-11 rating in just under 32 minutes of action.

Parker played in just three games this season for the Kings, his fourth team in three seasons since beginning his career with the Milwaukee Bucks. But while other teams steered clear, Parker said the Celtics reached out to him within a week of his release from Sacramento, and that he was excited about the opportunity.

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"I’ve just been a fan of the Boston Celtics,” Parker told reporters before Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, via Boston.com. “They just do things the right way, as far as like the teamwork, the hard work, and preparation. And hopefully I can be integrated and rub off on those guys as far as their work ethic and their habits."

It helps that Parker has a few connections in Boston. The Duke product worked out with fellow Blue Devil Jayson Tatum just before the C's drafted Tatum in 2017 and said he's stayed in touch with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge since the 2014 NBA Draft, where Boston owned the No. 6 pick and had a chance to draft Parker. (Parker went No. 2 overall, while the C's chose Marcus Smart at No. 6.)

"Jayson, I met him after my third season, and I came back to school, got a chance to work out with him," Parker said. “Got a chance to workout with (former Duke assistant coach) Jeff Capel, who was his shooting coach.

"And then when Danny Ainge, we always stayed somewhat close, especially during the time where I was getting drafted, so that was a good familiarity that I have those guys here with the Celtics.”

Parker has largely been a disappointment in the NBA since averaging 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in four seasons with Milwaukee. But head coach Brad Stevens said the Celtics have plans for Parker beyond this season, so if the player and the organization are a good fit, perhaps the 26-year-old can revitalize his career in Boston.