If Jabari Parker isn't the first pick of the 2014 NBA draft, he won't fall far.
Parker, widely considered one of the most polished players in this year's class, doesn't have to be concerned about falling outside of the top two picks on Thursday night. With the Milwaukee Bucks sitting at No. 2 in the first round, the franchise is apparently sold on the former Duke small forward.
The Bucks are so committed to Parker that they reportedly told him they will select him regardless of who's on the board, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
Jabari Parker says he believes he will go No. 2 to Bucks and there is mutual interest. Says he he hasn't received similar vibe from Cavs.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 25, 2014
Jabari Parker says he's not opposed to going to Cavs, but said no commitment was made.Said Bucks told him they'd take him if he's there at 2— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 25, 2014
Andy Katz of ESPN revealed Parker told him he expects to go second in the draft:
Well then: Jabari Parker, who looks fit, said he will be the No 2 pick. That's his prediction. Bucks. pic.twitter.com/wN5671suD5— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) June 25, 2014
How's that for insurance? After just one year in the college ranks, Parker appears to have a guaranteed spot in the top two on Thursday night.
One Eastern Conference executive shared his thoughts on the former Duke player, per Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe:
The first time I saw him, the name Carmelo just starts screaming at you.
He seems to have a knack for scoring, just a type of guy that if you give it to him in the post, the mid-post, the free-throw line facing [the basket], the three-point line facing—if you put him in any situation, he can get you a bucket. That’s a pretty rare ability.
After a season in which Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds on a loaded Blue Devils team, the 19-year-old might not even be available for the Bucks at No. 2. Following the news of Joel Embiid's foot surgery, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports the Cleveland Cavaliers might take Parker first overall:
With Joel Embiid's foot surgery, and the reported 4-6 month recovery that comes with it, the Cavs are said to be leaning toward Duke's Jabari Parker with the No. 1 pick. Parker is more NBA-ready than Andrew Wiggins, who would go to the Bucks at No. 2. Rival executives believe it would be out of character for Cleveland GM David Griffin to trade the top pick, and believe Bucks GM John Hammond would be hard-pressed to deviate from the other consensus top player in the draft after Embiid's injury shook up the top of the lottery.
Who should go No. 1 overall?
If the Cavs do select Parker, he would be the second Duke player they've taken at No. 1 overall since 2011. Joining up with Kyrie Irving, a one-and-done player for the Blue Devils as well, Parker would already have an established point guard to run the offense and a young core around him.
As for the Bucks, Parker would be paired up with Giannis Antetokounmpo, better known as the "Greek Freak." Antetokounmpo and Parker each has the size and versatility to play power forward, which could lead to mismatches.
Either team would be a good fit for Parker, but one is apparently guaranteed. NBA fans will have to wait until Thursday night to find out which team takes him, but they likely won't have to wait long.
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