We have heard that the 2014 NBA Draft is going to be one that models the 2003 NBA Draft that involved Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Darko Millicic, Chris Bosh and, of course, Lebron James. The Duke Blue Devils‘ Jabari Parker looks similar as to the Syracuse Orange‘s Anthony 11 years ago; a superb freshman who plays well advanced to his age on the offensive side of the court. Can he get to the height of Anthony and provide a national title for his Blue Devil squad?
It looks to be no, if he has to guard the opponent’s biggest player. Luckily, today he had to play the Eastern Michigan Eagles of the MAC where he scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
As of right now, Duke has struggled against teams with height like the Arizona Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks. Surely playing the 6-foot-9 Parker at center must have coach Mike Krzyzewski throwing fits against the top-tiered big men that those teams bring. Parker cannot guard centers that are taller than him; he’s a small forward trapped in a power forward’s body just like the New York Knicks’ Anthony.
Like Anthony, he can score, but he struggles on defense against bigger opponents. Thus far into the season, the freshman leads his team in scoring and rebounds. He has not shied away from putting up shots; he attempts almost 15 per game. Parker dominates on the block and that is the most underrated portion of his game, but he can shoot and drive better than any freshman in the country as well.
If he chooses to forgo his sophomore year, he will be with a dominant group of recruits, featuring Jalil Okafor and Tyus Jones, but right now, he’s a top three pick.
If he’s chosen third, he will be the perfect comparison to Anthony — who was chosen by the Denver Nuggets third overall in 2003. Here are Anthony’s numbers in his one year at Syracuse University: 22 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, two assists and shot 33 percent from the three-point line. Compare that to Parker’s 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists and is shooting 48 percent from three.
These two are extremely close to identical in stature and game similarities, but can Parker lead his Duke team like Anthony did and win the title?
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII.