With the NBA regular season winding down, there has been plenty of buzz surrounding those prospects projected to be a top pick. One of these prospects being Jabari Parker. Parker was arguably the most consistent star in college basketball this season, even with the early exit from the tournament. Although he has not declared for the draft just yet, the majority of scouts have the feeling that he will ultimately decide to move on to the next level. The question is, which lottery team is the best fit for Parker?
The Los Angeles Lakers will likely end up with at worst the sixth pick in the draft, a very unusual occurrence. Los Angeles is historically part of the select few winningest franchises in all of sports. Therefore, having possession of a draft pick which is in the lottery alone is nothing any NBA fan is subject to. In fact, the franchises last top 10 draft pick came almost 10 years ago when they selected Andrew Bynum with the tenth overall pick. Going even further back, their last top five pick was in 1979 when a man named Earvin “Magic” Johnson was selected first overall.
Basically what I am getting at is that this team does not build through the NBA Draft very often. However, when Los Angeles has held an extremely high first rounder, management has been successful in selecting a future All-Star caliber player. Jabari Parker has the chance to be one of these franchise altering players, if picked by the Lakers.
His style of play alone is a perfect mold for the stereotype attributed with Los Angeles. He has already been under the microscope at a competitive school in Duke University, and he has real star potential. Out of all of the prospects, scouts project Parker to have the largest immediate impact as he seems to be the most ready freshman in this class.
Carmelo Anthony has been a name Parker has been compared to since he began his dominance at Duke. Both players are about the same size, great rebounders and fantastic scorers. Los Angeles has even been interested in pursuing Anthony in free agency this offseason, but why not just take the cheaper, younger version in this year’s draft.
Most fans will object to this style of play molding with Kobe Bryant, but let’s not forget Bryant is on the final leg of his career. Within a few years, we will have a Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers team, however if the team winds up selecting Parker, they should be in good shape moving ahead. Of course, replacing Kobe is impossible. Nobody has meant so much or devoted so much time and effort to this team in history. Replacing him will never happen.
Bottom line is, this year’s draft pick will be vital to the Lakers’ rebuilding project. Next year will pave the way for the development of Parker, if he just so ends up on the team. Then in 2015, Los Angeles will have ample cap space to pursue players such Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love in free agency, building a contender in the span of two seasons. The future is bright, fans just have to be patient.