#NBA Top 5 Prospects Part 1: Duke’s Jabari Parker
There is a lot of anticipation about the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft, considering the plethora of highly touted recruits that could leave after one year of school. Let’s take a look at my breakdown of the top five prospects.
Parker should be the consensus number 1 draft pick because he has all the skills necessary to cut it at the next level. He can stretch the floor with a long jumper, get to the basket, draw fouls and plays good defense. He has the court awareness that many freshmen ballers lack and seems to be a high character guy.
And, his best trait is the open floor. How about an alley-oop versus North Carolina State?
One of the most attractive traits is how he has fought through a grinding ACC schedule, where Duke will always get their opponent’s best shot. After dropping points and assists during the nonconference schedule, Parker struggled at the start of ACC play but picked it up at the end of the season.
He even dropped 30 points on archrival North Carolina, which hasn’t been done by a Duke freshman, ever. In the rivalry, he becomes the second freshman to score 30 points in the Tobacco Road rivalry to Walter Davis of North Carolina in 1974, per Bleacher Report. Here’s the highlight tape from that rivalry game:
He can do the up-and-under, drive to the basket, floaters, jumpers, with the left and right hand. Jabari Parker is the real deal.
He is not an assist leader by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t seem to be a part of the Duke’s vision for Parker. He averaged under 1 assist per game in conference play and 1.3 assists per game overall.
But, his shooting numbers are very good by college standards. He is no Doug McDermott (who I ranked as the no.4 prospect in the draft), but he is a very good and all-around player. Parker shot 48.6% from the floor, 52% from 2, and 37% from beyond the arc. But, his free throw percentage is 73.8%, which is less than ideal but it can be worked on.
Yet, after averaging 19.2 points and 9 rebounds per game as a freshman (including 17.6 points, 9.7 rebounds in ACC play), he lost the conference’s player of the year award to North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren. Warren was the only bright spot in a so-so Wolfpack season and averaged 24 point per game and almost 7 rebounds, per NBC CollegeBasketballTalk.
Parker’s all-around game is too tempting for NBA scouts and fans alike, and that will mean he’ll be a no.1 draft pick.