On Thursday morning, former Duke superstar Jabari Parker finally made the announcement that he would be turning pro and entering the NBA Draft after a successful freshman season at Duke. This decision seemed like a forgone conclusion for the past few month, though Parker dragged it out as he pondered his future with the Blue Devils’ Hall-of-Fame head coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
So, now that Parker has confirmed the basketball world’s worst-kept secret, the thoughts begin to swirl about where he will land next season. Parker is widely considered a top-three draft pick, and where he ended up will depend on how the ping pong balls bounce when the NBA hosts its lottery for the top picks in the draft.
Although there will be much speculation and dreaming over the coming weeks from fans of every team in the lottery, there is one above all that could turn Parker from talented prodigy into a future Hall-of-Famer: the Los Angels Lakers. For the first time since the 2005 draft, the Lakers find themselves with a lottery pick. They have the sixth-best odds of landing the top overall pick after closing out the worst season in team history. So let’s begin the speculation.
With an aging Kobe Bryant, the Lakers could begin to replace him by drafting Parker this season and bringing in some high-profile free agents during the 2015 offseason when the likes of Kevin Love, Brook Lopez and Al Jefferson are all set to become free agents. This Lakers team could turn around in a hurry with Parker serving as the jumping-off point.
Though as always, this all depends on where the ping-pong balls bounce.