Jabari Parker Says Being a Laker 'Would Be a Blessing'

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 11, 2014

USA Today

Current Duke standout and potential top pick Jabari Parker has yet to officially put his name into the 2014 NBA draft.

That hasn't stopped him, however, from fantasizing about life as a professional athlete—or, more specifically, a Los Angeles Laker.

Parker held court with Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson on ESPN 710 AM Friday morning and sounded more than open to the idea of starting his hoops career under the Hollywood lights, via Lakers Nation's Serena Winters:

Parker's full quote, via ESPN 710 AM:

Yeah, likewise what Doug said, we come from the Midwest, where our weather is kind of terrible. So being here would be a blessing. You don't have any excuse not to workout, of any time of day, so it would be a very great opportunity.

The Lakers, along with every other NBA bottom-feeder, could certainly stand to add someone with Parker's NBA-ready array of dynamic offensive weapons. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association's pick as the country's top freshman averaged 19.1 points and shot 47.3 percent from the field during his first (and possibly last) season with the Blue Devils.

Former Duke star and current NBA analyst Grant Hill is already on board with the idea of Parker as a Laker.

"He’s the most ready and has a chance to be hugely successful right away," Hill said after naming Parker as the player L.A. should select if it lands the No. 1 pick, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. "He’s a quality small forward and he’s a guy who could come in and play with Kobe Bryant right away. When Kobe retires, Jabari could be the face of the franchise."

Kobe Bryant has already said he's ready and willing to mentor either Parker or Kansas freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins:

Obviously, a few things have to happen to get from this point to that one.

First and foremost, Parker needs to actually enter the draft. He'd be a lock to come off the board early, but there are signs this could be more than a formality.

If he does enter the draft, the Lakers would need to have a pick high enough to select him. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has Parker at No. 3 on his big board, so the Lakers might need some lottery luck. They're currently in the No. 6 spot and have a 21.5 percent chance of landing a top-three pick, via Tankathon.com.

Lastly, L.A. would have to decide if Parker is worthy of that pick. According to ESPN Insider Chad Ford (subscription required), the Lakers have him fourth on their draft board behind Wiggins, Kansas center Joel Embiid and Australian point guard Dante Exum. Exum, by the way, has been having his own dreams about playing in La-La Land, according to The Canberra Times' Jon Tuxworth (via B/R's David Murphy).

So there is no guarantee that Parker will end up in Los Angeles. Not outside of the virtual realm, at least:

Weighing draft lottery odds and scouting top prospects might be relatively uncharted waters for the Lakers, but life is still good for this proud franchise.

Clearly, the appeal of the Lakers' brand has not diminished, despite their lost season.