2014 NBA Draft: Why Jabari Parker Is a Must-Pick for the Sixers at No. 3

Mike MartinezContributor IIIMay 21, 2014

Duke forward Jabari Parker (1) shoots over Mercer forward Daniel Coursey (52) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball second-round game, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

After two lackluster years without a postseason appearance, the Philadelphia 76ers have been awarded the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA draft following Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery. The Sixers should use their selection to add Jabari Parker, who entered the draft this year after a standout freshman season at Duke.

Parker, who was a first-team All-American, averaged 19.1 points per game last season for Duke and would be an excellent addition to a talented but struggling Sixers team that managed to win only 19 games during the 2013-14 regular season.

Though it’s a possibility that he could be drafted earlier, according to NJ.com writer Eliot Shorr-Parks, the Cavaliers and the Bucks, who hold the first two draft picks, will more than likely end up passing on Parker for selections that will fill holes on their current rosters. Cleveland and Milwaukee will consider Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, who is the biggest name in the draft, as stated by Shorr-Parks.

“Parker has an offensive game that should make him the early favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He might make more sense for the Sixers than Wiggins does, as he possess [sic] a better offensive game and his questionable defense should not be an issue with Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel there to help out.”

If Wiggins goes in one of the first two picks, as he most likely will, the Sixers will probably end up choosing Parker, who, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, would be more than a decent consolation prize.

“He'd give the Sixers a guy who could score 20 points a night right out of the gate. And the Sixers have the length and athleticism to protect Parker on defense with Michael Carter-Williams in the backcourt and Nerlens Noel in the middle.”

With the Sixers having one of the worst records in the league in 2013-14, Parker could be just the guy they need to come in and transform the franchise. His dynamic skills on offense could help the team win games immediately.

According to ESPN’s scouting report, which was quoted in Shorr-Parks’ NJ.com article, Parker has a number of characteristics, including elite basketball instincts, high IQ and a great motor, all of which would help him thrive in Philadelphia.

“Parker displayed one of the best all-around offensive games in college last season, showing the ability to score with his back to the basket and also when attacking the paint from the top of the key. That is huge for the Sixers, as more than anything, they need a player to take control of their offense.”

With the Sixers being comfortable on defense and Wiggins not being quite the offensive star that Parker is, the team should elect to use its pick to complement the team and help turn it around after two bleak seasons.

Parker’s skills on the court and his intangibles could help take the 76ers to the next level, as well as have them competing for a playoff berth next season.