Parker looked real good in limited action. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Friday would be a bittersweet day for the Milwaukee Bucks. Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon, is out 6-8 weeks with a torn quad. But the bad news stops there. Jabari Parker is back. And on Friday night, despite playing for just 15 minutes, Parker would make a big impact.

While the Bucks ultimately won 92-90 on a Giannis layup in the closing seconds, it’s Parker’s return that’s making the rounds. In just 15 minutes, Jabari would finish with 12 points and three rebounds. It’s a return that brings hope, especially now that Brogdon is set to miss a couple of months. But it brings hope for reasons we are yet to see. After all, Parker’s defense leaves plenty to be desired. But his scoring will be important down the stretch.

Most importantly, however, is that the Bucks are hitting their stride. Since firing head coach Jason Kidd, they are 5-1. Their only loss? A one-sided contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves. But aside from that, their defense looks competent. Their offense is doing enough. And now Parker, the former second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, is back to lend a hand.

Over parts of four seasons, the former Blue Devil is averaging 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. But we are still unsure of what kind of player he is. After all, two ACL tears certainly limit opportunities. But at the very least, there’s hope. That’s all Milwaukee can ask for right now.

On the season, the Bucks are 28-23 and sixth out East. But it’s a tight race. They are just 2.5 games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for third. Is Jabari Parker the difference as we head towards the stretch run? We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime buckle up, basketball fans. We’re in for a treat of a finish out East.

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This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

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