On Tuesday, May 20, the NBA Draft Lottery was held in New York City, where our Milwaukee Bucks grabbed the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Bucks entered the night with the best chance of landing the first overall pick, but for the third time in four years, the basketball gods handed that to the Cleveland Cavaliers (Don’t worry, they’ll screw it up).
Still, number two is nothing to cough at and the Bucks will have a chance to draft the face of their franchise for years to come. If you ask me, that face should be Duke sensation Jabari Parker.
Anyone would be enamored with his freshman year stat line (19.1 PPG, 47 % FG, 8.7 REB), but his intangibles separate him from the rest. Parker’s aggressive style of play, leadership abilities and humble mentality are things both teammates and coaches love. Regardless of the score, Parker will play his heart out and then some.
He has an innate ability to score the basketball. Parker is as smooth as it gets on the offensive end with a Charmin soft touch around the rim. Who wouldn’t want that?
Of course, the main concern with Parker is his defensive play. He had difficulty keeping quicker opponents in front of him at the college level and often looked lost off the ball.
That’s problematic at the next level as Parker figures to play small forward. If he can’t hold guys from Mercer University, then what’s stopping LeBron (or even Luol Deng) from dropping 40 on him? That’s a tough question and one that Parker will work his tail off to address this offseason.
Another concern about the Parker is his ‘fit’ on the Buck’s roster. This is the most unfounded criticism of them all. After a 15-67 season, nobody – save Giannis Antetokounmpo and maybe Brandon Knight – is safe from being traded. To suggest Parker won’t fit in with a team that could drastically change in the next three years doesn’t make much sense at all.
Although Parker will begin his career at the three spot, count on him sliding down to power forward – much like Carmelo Anthony did. That means Antetokounmpo could effectively play the three, giving the Bucks a lot of flexibility moving forward.
Assuming Joel Embiid is drafted first by the Cavs (read Bill Simmon’s recent Mailbag segment on Grantland), it’s only right to explain why Jabari is better for Milwaukee than Andrew Wiggins. We’ve heard about his lack of aggression and ball control, but it’s his long-term potential in Milwaukee that favors Parker.
Andrew Wiggins has had the spotlight since he was 13-years old, drawing comparisons to LeBron and some of the greatest of all time. The bright lights have always surrounded Wiggins. So who’s to say he would sign long-term in the NBA’s dingiest location? If the Lakers or Nets offered him the big bucks, Milwaukee would be left in the dust.
The city of Milwaukee and great state of Wisconsin need a player to get behind. We need a player who will pour his heart
and beyond. Hello, Jabari.