After there were rumors that Parker may return for his sophomore season at Duke, Parker officially declared for the NBA draft in April and made his announcement in an article with Sports Illustrated. Since then, Parker has stayed mostly out of the spotlight as he prepares for the NBA draft.
Where should Jabari Parker be drafted?
"I realize how much of a privilege and an honor it is to join the ranks of the NBA," Parker wrote for Sports Illustrated. "I will do everything in my power to help deliver championships to the franchise that drafts me. At the same time, I recognize the obligation to represent the league in an admirable way off the court."
It is unclear which team will take him, but it'll be more clear on Tuesday night once the lottery picks are announced, as whichever team has the No. 2 overall pick will almost certainly be taking the 19-year-old small forward.
During his time at Duke, Parker was an extremely impressive player. He averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. At 6'8'' and 235 pounds, Parker has the frame to continue to thrive at the small forward position in the NBA.
A successful season after coming into Duke as one of the top high school recruits, Parker has been in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick, but whoever is picking will have a very hard time passing up on Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins doesn't appear as ready to play in the NBA right now as Parker, but the 19-year-old out of Kansas arguably has a higher ceiling given his freakish athleticism that has been on display since high school. He showed that athleticism off recently, causing quite a stir on Twitter after reportedly posting a 44-inch vertical in this picture.
The picture of Andrew Wiggins vert jump floating around? His agent, Bill Duffy, told me it's a 44 inch vert. pic.twitter.com/x2p86SWG8V— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 16, 2014
It's hard to see any team passing up on Wiggins, but that isn't a knock in any way on Parker. Many believe that Parker will be an instant impact player as soon as he's drafted, including Utah Jazz radio announcer David Locke.
Jabari Parker's offensive mix of being able to play off the bounce on the wing and in the post is pretty special and NBA ready— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) May 19, 2014
After Wiggins, Parker is the next clear choice, as the other potential prospects have some concerns heading into the draft. Kentucky's Julius Randle has all the physical tools to be a dominant player down low, but Adam Zagoria from SNY.tv as well as others believe that Randle doesn't do a good job reacting to defenses, saying:
Randle’s a terrific player but he doesn’t read the game, see the game like Jabari Parker. He doesn’t play off of the defense. That’s a weakness. Now he’s fabulous physically and he’ll compete and he’s strong and he’s tough and the whole thing. He’s so gifted, he’s going to be very good. But he doesn’t really understand.
The only other player that's been in the running for the No. 1 overall pick has been Wiggins' teammate Joel Embiid, the 7'0'' center. Unfortunately, a back injury has hurt his draft stock, as scouts are worried that his injury could possibly keep him from playing as long as he'd like.
Bleacher Report's Dr. Dave Siebert explained that Embiid's injury could be trouble down the road if not handled properly, according to Bleacher Report injury lead writer Will Carroll, saying:
Playing with a lumbar stress fracture—an overuse injury of one of the vertebrae that encases and protects the part of the spinal cord that controls movement and sensation in the lower body—is not only likely painful, but it also risks more serious complications such as nerve damage. It's not the fracture itself that is worrisome, it's what it could turn into if not properly managed.
Regardless of the draft order, the top two picks are already set by now, as Wiggins and Parker have been able to separate themselves from the rest of the draft class. Parker won't go No. 1, but he'll be drafted right after that, and he should be an All-Star in the near future.