It was just another day at the office for Jabari Parker in Duke's 79-69 win over Michigan. Only Parker sat at a different desk for this one.
He finished with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, but his offensive production wasn't a result of pretty step-backs or confident pull-ups like we saw in November.
Prior to Tuesday night, Parker had been torching defenses with one of the most advanced perimeter-scoring arsenals we've seen from any prospect since Kevin Durant. However, against Michigan, Parker set up shop a little closer to the rim.
Duke chose to feature him in the post throughout the game. They fed him down low right off the bat for the first bucket of the evening:
It's not unfamiliar territory for Parker, who's shown a comfort level in the post since his junior year in high school.
Still, this was the first time all year that the majority of his offensive touches came with his back to the rim. And though it didn't result in an inflated stat line or many highlights for the mixtape, it's a dimension of his game that should play to his NBA versatility.
You won't find many 18-year-old prospects who can shake and bake in the post. They're even tough to find in the pros nowadays. Fadeaways, spin moves, swoops into the lane—Parker can make unguardable shots in the post whenever he's single covered.
He's slippery in the paint, and has the strength to bully his man if necessary. And at 6'8" with a 7'0'' wingspan, Parker is able to create uncontested looks from awkward, difficult angles.
Andrew Wiggins, Parker's primary draft-day competition, certainly isn't skilled or bulky enough for the post. If the defense packs the paint, he's forced to hang out 25 feet away.
Parker's ability to score in traffic makes him a threat from more spots on the floor. Take away his perimeter game and he'll beat you on the interior.
He's got the scoring skill set to take his man one-on-one with his back to the rim. And at 235 pounds, holding his ground isn't a problem now nor should it be in the future.
But the post game doesn't just open up another avenue of offense for Parker to explore. It also creates opportunities for teammates. And given Parker's basketball IQ, passing instincts and unselfish mentality, he's able to recognize those opportunities.
Check out how many defenders Parker draws. He's a defensive magnet down there. Just by feeding him in the post, it creates an open three-point look for guard Quinn Cook:
It's the same deal on the other side. Parker immediately draws three men before finding an open Rodney Hood around the arc:
Parker is able to free up shooters without even using a dribble—that's how effective he can be as a 4 in the post. Whether he's looking for his own offense or positioning himself to set up someone else, the post allows him to pose as a multidimensional threat.
There really isn't a more complete prospect in the country right now. Offensively, he's got the outside game, where he can play off the ball or create his own shot on it. He can separate off the dribble and score on the move, as well as push in transition and put pressure on the defense.
And now, we've seen it all. Parker's post game was too much for Michigan to handle, even if it didn't result in another 20-point scoring effort. He was still able to impact the game on every possession without putting up points in volume.
He made seven shots and none of them were face-up jumpers. It just speaks to his versatility as an offensive weapon. No other prospect can generate points in more ways than Parker, who should enter the draft as the most NBA-ready option on the board.
He might not be able to match Wiggins' athleticism or the height of his ceiling, but there's no argument over who the most complete offensive player is heading into 2014.
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