Despite speculation that Jabari Parker would return to Duke for his sophomore season, Parker made the expected decision and declared for this year’s NBA Draft. Now that it’s official, we take a look at his NBA potential.
Parker is gifted offensively, shown in his season average of 19.1 points per game. His jumper is best attribute but he can score in a variety of ways, whether it’s a three, pull-up jumper, step-back, or off a post move. He has a good handle for the ball and his offensive versatility was key at Duke.
Parker isn’t an elite athlete, but is an underrated leaper. He doesn’t have a great first step but uses his high basketball IQ and deadly pull-up jumper to create space. He is the most NBA ready prospect on the offensive end by a considerable margin. In addition, he’s a good rebounder and averaged 8.7 rebounds per game.
The biggest flaw in Parker’s game is on the defensive end. He isn’t quick enough to guard small forwards and is too small to defend NBA sized power forwards. This can be an issue in keeping him on the floor as coaches will be faced with the dilemma if his offensive attributes outweigh his liability on the defensive end. He’ll be labeled as a “tweener” because of his defensive struggles. In addition, his lack of elite athleticism can hurt his ability to attack the rim, but he is skilled enough to compensate.
With his offensive talent and versatility, Parker has some similarities to Carmelo Anthony. Both can score from various spots and in numerous ways.
Because of his basketball IQ, NBA-ready body, and intangibles, Parker may be the safest prospect in this year’s class. He should be averaging 15+ points per game in his rookie season and could eventually become an All-Star.
Parker may not have the upside of Wiggins or Embiid, but he’s far more advanced at this stage of his career. Parker has a chance to the top selection and is almost guaranteed to be a top three pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
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