"He's going to have to work hard to prove that he belongs", Mark Cuban said of Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., "I think he did really, really well. " Against the Pelicans, Bobby Ray Parks Jr. played the fewest minutes of any player who saw court time. He committed one turnover and finished with a plus-minus of -3. He's a mystery to most United States based Mavericks fans, but to our Filipino fanbase is very familiar with his career.
The 22 year old Parks is the son of the late Bobby Parks, a member of the 1984 draft class who played one year with the Hawks before embarking on an international career which resulted in him playing 12 years in the Philippine Basketball Association. Parks played most of his youth basketball in America before returning to the Phillipenes. After spending a year with the National University in Manilla's team, Parks joined the PBA D-League where he's spent much of the last four years.
For those unfamiliar, basketball is simply huge in the Philippines. I'm not well spoken enough on the subject to comment, but the book Pacific Rims is an amazing look at the basketball culture of the country. Rafe Bartholomew followed up on this book in 2014 with a fantastic Grantland feature I highly recommend. A large portion of Mavs Moneyball's readership has at least some connection with the Philippines as well.
So far, the Filipino presence in Vegas has been intense. "You could tell that [Parks] was really, really nervous," Cuban noted in posted game comments, "He had some fellow countrymen there and that made him a little bit more nervous." Mark Cuban is very aware of the Filipino market as well:
"We talk about loving basketball in the United States but there is no country more basketball crazy than the Philippines....I'd love to see more Filipino players. I really, really, would. I don't think people here really realize the impact of basketball on the Philippines and that's important. I would love to be the team of the Philippines. "
Despite the small number of minutes for Parks in the first game, Cuban seemed hopeful for Parks in the coming games: "He's got to improve, there's no question about it. But he's here and showed he belongs and he's got a chance."
Beyond some highlight videos of Parks, we are really unsure what kind of player Parks is. He's a left handed swingman and at 6'4" has average to below average size for the NBA level. He appears to be a strong driver that relies heavily on his ability to finish with his left hand. Past that, it's hard to make too many judgements about it game.
With that said, I'd like some of our fantastic commenters to fill in the gaps. What sort of game does Parks possess? What are his strengths and weaknesses? What parts of his game actually translate to the NBA level? Do you feel he's an NBA level talent? Let us know in the comments below!