2014 NBA Draft

Jabari Parker Shouldn't Be Viewed as Consolation Prize If He Falls to 76ers

Duke's Jabari Parker reacts following a basket against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Tim KeeneyContributor IMay 22, 2014

Consistency isn't sexy. Neither is polish. Or National Freshman of the Year awards, first-team All-America nods or really any kind of college accomplishment. 

Limitless upside is sexy. So are 44-inch verticals, 7'5" wingspans and unbelievable natural physical tools. 

That's why, in most circles, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are considered better prospects than Jabari Parker (Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, Zach Harper and Matt Moore and ESPN's Chad Ford, among many others, all have Wiggins and Embiid going 1-2 in some order). That's why the "Boring Jabari Parker" Twitter parody account has nearly 71,000 followers and "Boring Andrew Wiggins" has 28. That's why some people say the Philadelphia 76ers landing Parker at No. 3 overall would be a consolation prize. 

Don't fall into that trap, thoughJabari Parker should never be described as a consolation prize. 

Just like with everything else in life, take ESPN's Dick Vitale's word for it: 

The thing that stands out about the former Duke star's game is his offensive versatility. Many will talk about his ability to score from every inch of the court, and that's not an overstatement. 

For proof, take a look at Parker's 30-point outburst against North Carolina in March, along with each point scored in list form: 

Jabari Parker's Scoring Distribution vs. North Carolina (March 8, 2014)
PointsWhere Parker Gets BallDescription
1-2Top of keyLeft-handed dribble, converts layup-and-1
3Free-throwAnd-1 free-throw
4-5Right wingLeft-handed dribble, stop, up-and-under move for layup
6-7Left wingRight-handed dribble, mid-range floater
8-9Free-throwsPost in restricted area, draws foul
10-11Left wingRight-handed isolation dribble, finishes with left hand in the paint
12-14Left cornerSpot-up three
15-16Left corner, mid-rangeBaseline move, splits defense, right-handed floater in traffic
17-18Left postTurn-and-face, hits mid-range jumper
19Free-throwCatch on right wing, crossover dribble, spin move, draws foul
20-21Left corner, mid-rangeCatch-and-shoot turnaround jumper
22-23Free-throwsCatch on left wing, quick face-up, draws foul on jumper
24-25Free-throw lineOne dribble left, hits mid-range jumper
26-28Right cornerSpot-up three
29-30Free-throwsOffensive rebound, draws foul

Off the bounce, off the catch, either hand, from any of the three levels (post, mid-range, beyond the arc). It doesn't matter. Parker's skill level and basketball intelligence are both off the charts, and he will take whatever the defense gives him. 

The only type of basket missing from the above compilation is of the transition variety, but, rest assured, he has no trouble grabbing a rebound, putting the ball on the floor like a point guard and taking on five defenders like a damn freight train, either:

In term's of NBA potential, Parker's ceiling may not be on the level of Wiggins or Embiid, but it's still higher than most. With his amalgam of NBA-ready size, ridiculous offensive skill set and basketball IQ, he's the easy favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year. Going beyond that, it shouldn't be long before he starts putting up 20 per game for the next 15 years. 

He's as safe as it gets, but don't let that fool you about his upside. 

Mike Krzyzewski, via USA Today's Nicole Auerbach, put it simply:

When he has the ball, he's so excited and he can do things you don't teach. If he learns to play without the ball to the level I think he can, I think he'll be, in the NBA, a franchise player. I think he's going to be unbelievable.

Moreover, Parker might just be the player the Sixers covet most. 

His ability to score the ball in droves immediately improves the team's dreadful 96.8 offensive rating (points per 100 possessions; easily worst in the league), and his defensive problems are quelled by the length and athleticism of Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young and Nerlens Noel. 

It may be more tantalizing to daydream about what Wiggins or Embiid are doing in 10 years, and that's understandable. But when it comes to this draft class, remember there are three potential franchise-changing players. 

Not two and a consolation prize. 

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