Data dialogue: Jabari Parker

Offensive and defensive efficiency, rebounds -- Jabari Parker addresses it all. Chuck Liddy/MCT/ZUMA PRESS

A simple, fundamental thing about sports statistics that gets overlooked in today's avalanche of numbers -- advanced or otherwise -- is that they actually represent things that happen on the playing surface. Numbers drive our dialogue, our graphics and our arguments.

They do not, however, drive the chatter in the locker room. Players care about numbers, of course, because that's what gets them paid. But nuanced discussions about how numbers come to represent specific skills, or which metrics are insightful -- that's not a typical part of the exchange between athlete and athlete, or athlete and journalist.

What we've decided to do is to try to tie the numbers that drive our analysis with the skill sets of the players we cover by going directly to the source. The questions are driven by statistical analysis, although we're not just throwing a bunch of math at unsuspecting players. We are, however, hoping that by analyzing their own skill sets, players can reveal the mindsets that result in the numbers that tell their story.

We kick off our set of dialogues today with Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jabari Parker.

1: Parker's 31.8 percent usage rate ranked 24th in the country. His offensive rating (111.7) ranked 499th -- lowest among Duke rotation players.

Bradford Doolittle: A term you hear a lot now is "offensive efficiency." What does that mean to you, and how do you learn to balance your ability to create shots pretty much when you want with making sure you keep your teammates involved?