SYRACUSE — Despite scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a 81-79 road loss to Syracuse, Jabari Parker deserves the opportunity to become the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Many NBA scouts view Parker as the most NBA-ready basketball player in the upcoming draft. That is high-level praise for a freshman to receive as arguably this is the best draft class since 2003. Even though Parker is quite possibly the most talented, he is not projected to go number one.
It is absurd that Parker is not the top man on NBA draft boards, since he appears to be the safest top pick in the draft.
Parker is a great college basketball player, but recently, he has been off his game. During his first 12 games, Parker averaged just over 22 points per game, which is amazing for a freshman playing in the ACC. During that stretch, he was also averaging close to eight rebounds per game. Those are some pretty good stats. The only problem is that during that stretch of time, he had to be compared to Andrew Wiggins.
Parker averages just over 14 points per game, and 8.5 boards per game. Statistically, he is nowhere near as good as he was the first half of the season, these are still respectable numbers for a freshman, as he is averaging 18.8 points per game and 8.1 boards per contest. These numbers are particularly impressive considering the tremendous amounts of pressure put on him.
With Parker, it’s not just about the stats.
At 6’8 and 235 pounds, Parker has the perfect NBA body. He has basketball in his blood too. His father is Sonny Parker, a former NBA player drafted in the first round, and his brother played basketball overseas. Parker was an outstanding basketball player during high school. He attended Simeon, in Chicago, which is known for its basketball program, which produced NBA MVP and Rookie of the Year, Derrick Rose.
Parker won the state championship at Simeon three times and was awarded Gatorade Player Of The Year as a junior and senior. All throughout high school, Parker was rated the number one prospect until he got a foot injury, which allowed Wiggins to claim the number one spot.
Teams who have the first pick in the draft are usually pretty interested in improving their team next season. If a team wants to improve, and wants a safe pick, Parker is the best choice. I think he will be the Rookie of the Year in 2015 if he enters the draft, and he will put up great statistics as rookie, and for the rest of his career.
He might not have the potential Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins has, but that is because he is already such a great player now.
He also is not a risk like Wiggins or Embiid would be at the first pick. Whoever has the first pick in the NBA draft should seriously consider picking Parker because of the immediate impact he will provide for his prospective team.