PROSPECT PROFILE: JABARI PARKER

by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

PLAYER SUMMARY – Three years ago, an abundantly-talented freshman from Duke declared himself eligible for the Draft and became the top pick in 2011. So far, that’s worked out pretty well for everybody. And in less than three weeks, another gifted Blue Devil might just duplicate that feat.

Among this year’s top handful of prospects, Jabari Parker is commonly viewed as the most NBA-ready of the bunch. He already has the build, at nearly 6-9, 240, with a 7-0 wingspan – physically suitable to either forward position. Offensively, Parker looks the part of a consistent scorer at the next level, with an arsenal of moves – including a pro-ready step-back jumper and the ability to slash in either direction. Overall, he has a polished mid-range game. He can score from the perimeter or on the block and has a solid post game for a guy who’ll be considered a wing player in the NBA. Parker – whose dad, Sonny, played six seasons with the Warriors – moves well without the ball, has great footwork and is considered an excellent ballhandler for his size. He’s also a strong offensive rebounder.

As good as he is on the offensive end, Parker has been criticized for his work defensively. Critics argue that he doesn’t bring the same effort and intensity to that end of the floor and can, at times, look lost. In his single season at Duke, Parker had difficulty defending the pick-and-roll against teams that spaced the floor well.

In terms of Parker’s intangibles, he’s got almost everything coaches look for. He’s a focused competitor who primarily leads by example, but isn’t afraid to get vocal when the situation calls for it. He came to Durham with huge expectations out of high school and didn’t shrink in the spotlight. He’s considered smart, instinctive and mature. He contributed at one of the top programs in college hoops as a true freshman and won’t turn 20 until late in his rookie season.

For teams looking for an immediate contributor, there’s a lot to like about the skilled, versatile Duke forward – and he won’t be in the Barclays Center green room long on June 26.

PLAYER SNAPSHOT

  • Height: 6-8
  • Weight: 240
  • Position: SF
  • College: Duke

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PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS – There isn’t much individual or team hardware that Parker could have won in his 19 years on the planet. In high school, he was the first freshman to start for the varsity at Chicago’s prestigious Simeon Career Academy – which produced players like Nick Anderson, Bobby Simmons and Derrick Rose. He was, however, the only one to lead them to four straight Illinois state titles. As a senior, he led Simeon to a 30-3 record and was named MaxPreps National Player of the Year.

As a freshman at Duke, Parker averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 boards, 1.2 assists and 1.2 blocks per contest – setting Duke freshman marks for points (670), points per game, rebounds (306), double-doubles (14), free throws made (160), free throws attempted (214), dunks (61), double-figure scoring games (33), 20-point games (18) and double-doubles (14). He was a consensus First Team AP All-America selection as well as First-Team All-ACC, ACC Rookie of the Year and USBWA National Freshman of the Year.

PLAYER COMPARISON – Some see him as a young Paul Pierce, but the player Parker is most often compared to is Carmelo Anthony, especially with his face-up game. Like Anthony, Parker is a pure scorer who can get his points from anywhere on the floor, and like Anthony, scouts see true superstar potential in the ultra-talented former freshman from Duke.

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