As the time for players to announce their decision regarding entering the 2014 NBA Draft approached, there was increasing concern that Jabari Parker would return to Duke. There were rumors about him having housing in-line for his sophomore year and plenty of others that seemed to point to staying in school being a legitimate possibility.
In the end, it played out like everyone expected it would: with Parker entering the draft as one of the top prospects in the class.
Parker proved in his single season with the Blue Devils that he was worth the hype. The combo forward put up 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks in 30.7 minutes per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 35.8 percent from three in his freshman season. If there’s one thing that people came away from watching Parker with, it’s that he’s ready right now to produce offensively at the NBA level.
You could argue that, because of his abilities and versatility as a scorer, Parker is the most NBA-ready prospect in this draft and especially among the top three prospects of him, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. He may not have the upside of the other two, but he can almost surely join a team and contribute right away.
With what Parker brings to the table as an offensive player, he’s a natural fit to join the Philadelphia 76ers, who own the third pick in the 2014 draft. The idea of pairing Parker as a forward alongside Thaddeus Young with Nerlens Noel in the middle and the show being run by Michael Carter-Williams is one that seems to spell success for a long time for this team.
There are some drawbacks when it comes to Parker as a prospect. There are rumors now that he’s not in great shape leading up to the draft, there are deserved concerns about how he’ll defend at the pro level, and he could need to develop his ball-handling further if he’s asked to play the three in the NBA. However, he could very well change the fortunes of the 76ers.
Philadelphia’s third pick hinges on who the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks take with the first and second picks respectively, but there’s a chance that Parker could fall to them. That has to be the Sixers’ prayer at this point and, if he is indeed there come the night of June 26, they’d be foolish not to snag him without hesitation.