Jabari Parker Reportedly Very Open to Being Drafted by Milwaukee Bucks

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 7, 2014

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The Milwaukee Bucks can't offer a major market or a talent-rich roster to the top prospects of the 2014 NBA Draft class.

But, armed with the No. 2 overall selection, Milwaukee can give some youngster a ticket to basketball's biggest stage. For Duke's freshman phenom Jabari Parker, it sounds like that's all he needs.

"Jabari just wants to play ball; He won't have any issues about playing in Milwaukee, not at all," Parker's former Duke teammate Rodney Hood told Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.

By most accounts, Parker is expected to be in play for one of the draft's top three picks. Along with former Kansas Jayhawks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, the versatile scoring forward is seen as one of the crowned jewels from what could be the deepest draft in the last few years.

Not only could Milwaukee grant Parker a quick exit from the draft green room, it could also keep the Chicago-native close to home.

"It would be nice if he went there (to Milwaukee)," his father, Sonny Parker, told Woelfel. "It's a straight drive (on highway 94) to Milwaukee; I wouldn't have to get on a plane."

There has been some concern that the Bucks, who won a league-worst 15 games last season, would not be able to attract to the top prospects to their small-market home.

"What the Clippers used to be, that’s what the Bucks are now," an NBA general manager told Forbes' Mark Heisler. "The place every agent says, 'I don’t want my player there.'"

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney said the biggest challenge he's encountered in attracting premier players for a workout has nothing to do with the franchise itself.

"I still think there's a lot of thinking on their agents' part of, 'Hey, he's not going to be there at 2,'" McKinney told Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. "We're going to have to be a little creative."

ESPN NBA insider Chad Ford said the Bucks aren't encountering nearly as many issues with these potential stars as has been reported.

"They aren't having a problem getting any of the top guys in," Ford wrote. "I know there's been a lot of talk out there that no wants to play for Milwaukee, but the truth is Parker, Wiggins and [Dante] Exum will all workout there and are willing to play in Milwaukee."

Perhaps the biggest question here is whether the Bucks would want to use their pick on Parker.

Ford seems to think so. He said Parker is "1b" on Milwaukee's draft board, trailing only "1a" choice Embiid.

In his latest mock draft, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman slotted Parker to Milwaukee at No. 2.

"Parker gives Milwaukee a guaranteed building block," Wasserman wrote. "...And let's be honest: the Bucks haven't been relevant in a while."

Parker, a 19.1 points-per-game scorer during his lone season at Duke, is seen as perhaps the most NBA-ready prospect of this class. A gifted scorer from inside and out, he could be a nice polished complement to the Bucks' high-upside players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson.

With new ownership in place, Parker has the chance to be at the forefront of Milwaukee's rebuilding plans. There has to be some appeal in serving as a main centerpiece of the Bucks' attempt to create something of substance.

Should Parker land in Milwaukee, he could trigger a flurry of activity upon his arrival. The Bucks are overloaded in the frontcourt (Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, among others), so they could play an active role in the trade market to create space for their freshest face.

No one will get a clear glimpse of Milwaukee's thinking until commissioner Adam Silver steps to the podium to announce their pick. But Parker seems like a name worth watching for the Bucks, and it sounds like he might already be watching them.