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Bulls’ Taj Gibson says Jabari Parker is NBA-ready

Updated: November 13, 2013 11:00PM

All eyes were on the Champions Classic on Tuesday at the United Center, so Wednesday was filled with debate.

Every Bulls player had an opinion on which of the three standout freshmen — Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins — was the most NBA-ready.

Taj Gibson said that not only did Parker have NBA skills, but the former Simeon star could play at a high level in the NBA right now.

“If I’m a GM, I would take Jabari,’’ Gibson said. “He’s inside-out, great on and off the court and his work ethic and mentality. Not to judge any of the other guys; they’re great talents, too. But I just like what I saw out of Jabari, especially being the biggest player for Duke, and it’s real tough.”

Gibson said he has gotten to know Parker the last few years and believes his game has a sky-high ceiling.

“He really reminds me of Carmelo [Anthony],’’ Gibson said. “He’s a big body, can dribble in and out of the post, and his three-point range is really great from what I’ve seen from him in high school. So you can tell he’s been working on his game.’’

Butler didn’t do it

Jimmy Butler is coming off a season-low 24 minutes in the victory over the Cavaliers. Veteran guard/forward Mike Dunleavy grabbed a lot of Butler’s minutes down the stretch.

But coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t want anyone to read too much into it, insisting that Butler is still his starter.

“He just has to play to his strengths,’’ Thibodeau said. “That’s defend, run the floor, move without the ball. I think he’s gotten some really good looks and he’s going to make them. He’s put a lot of time into his shooting. He’s a great finisher in transition. He’s great moving without the ball. I don’t want him to lose sight of the things he already does well.’’

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