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NBA Draft Scouting: Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker
On May 21, 2012, Sports Illustrated released an issue with Jabari Parker on the cover with the title, labelling him the best high school basketball player since LeBron James. That was before the Simeon High product had committed to Duke and that was before this past season, where he averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils. Now, Parker is off to the NBA, following much of the rest of this year's fantastic recruiting class.

Offense: Few players will enter this year's NBA Draft as polished as Parker is on the offensive end. He is such a versatile scorer; he has the size and strength to finish around the rim and he can also step out and hit jumpers. His 6'8" frame is tough to guard because he can extend over smaller defenders with his shot. Parker isn't the crazy athlete that Andrew Wiggins is, but his ability to step outside and hit a long two or even a trey-ball makes him very difficult to defend. His versatility extends to his position as he can play either small or power forward. Parker may not be an-NBA sized power forward with him being 6'8" but he has a long wingspan and he can use his athleticism to get over defenders. A part of his game that he has really improved at is on the offensive glass. Since he has become bigger and stronger he can box out a lot better and he can raise up for putback jams and tips. Off the dribble, Parker can attack with his mix of size and speed and the agility to get past defenders.

Defense: Parker won't get much credit for his play on the defensive side, but he is a very underrated defender. He is a pretty solid shot-blocker, he has long arms which allows him to, if not completely block, tip the ball. He moves so well for his size, he can help so much in help defense situations. He moves from side to side so well and back to front and there isn't an easy to beat him off the dribble. If you play him at power forward you wonder what he will do defensively against bigger offensive players who are polished down low. He has to add another layer of bulk if he wants to play power forward at the next level, because he can be pushed around defensively while on the block. Parker anticipates offenses very well and he recognizes plays. Parker never gets beat defensively because he is just plain too lazy; something that plagues a number of pros.

Where He Should Go: In a couple of years, Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins might turn into NBA superstars. But, both are much riskier picks than Parker, who will be ready to contribute right away. Offensively, he is already much more polished than Wiggins or Embiid and his versatility should be very attractive to a number of teams at the top of the draft board. He should probably go No. 1, he is the safest pick of the draft but he could easily drop a little, not out of the Top 3.

Where He Will Go: The only way Parker would drop out of the Top 3 would be if a team like Boston or Los Angeles feels like drafting a point guard (Dante Exum) would be smarter for them. He could easily go No. 1, likely to Milwaukee, but Orlando or Philadelphia would also love him at 2 or 3.

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