Mar 8, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker (1) follows through on a dunk against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Profile: Jabari Parker


After being supplanted by Andrew Wiggins as the top incoming freshman, Duke’s Jabari Parker took the country by storm with his strong early play. Despite their early loss in the NCAA Tournament, Parker’s freshman year was a solid one, showing us a lot about his potential moving forward. He’s going to be a top three pick, it’s just a matter of which team selects him at this point. 


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Parker put up big numbers all season, and do so efficiently as well considering how big of a role he had on the team. He was asked to play out of position quite a bit, which helped his rebounding numbers, but he showed a good nose for the ball off the glass, which is a big plus with his great scoring ability. He didn’t distribute the ball a lot, dishing out only 1.5 assists per-40 minutes, but took relatively good care of the ball at only 3.0 turnovers per-40 minutes. 


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  • Physical Tools 

Parker is an absolute beast size wise. He has an NBA ready body physically, and is already exceptionally strong, which will help him early in his NBA career. Parker isn’t extremely fast, but he moves very well for a player his size. His long frame will help him to potentially become a better defensive player, due to his length bothering some of the smaller forwards he’ll face. Parker’s size also gives him nice positional versatility, as he should be able to play both forward spots. 

  • Scoring Ability 

A flat out scorer, Parker can get the ball in the bucket in a multitude of ways. He’s got a nice jumper, and thanks to his size is able to get it off with relative ease over almost everyone. He also possesses the ability to drive the rim, and create and finish through contact. Parker isn’t highly explosive, but he can get up and play above the rim from time to time. He gets to the free throw line at a solid rate, averaging 8.0 free throw attempts per-40 minutes last season. 


  • Defense 

Arguably his biggest weakness, Parker is extremely poor on the defensive end as of now. He struggles defending both on the perimeter, and in the post. His lateral quickness is below average, and he doesn’t usually have a very good defensive stance. Parker has a tendency to show inconsistent effort, and struggles defending in the pick and roll. He’s got a long ways to go, but with the right coaching could be turned into a serviceable defender. 

  • Position 

Is he a small forward? Is he a power forward? There are a lot of questions regarding which of the two forward positions Parker plays. It doesn’t look like he has the quickness to play small forward, especially defensively, but is just as poor of a post defender and could get bullied at times. He’d be a matchup nightmare on the offensive end, but could a team live with his ineffectiveness on the defensive end? 


Jabari Parker is one of the best talents in the draft, but there are a handful of things that still need to be worked on. He can score with the best of them, but how will the team who picks him be able to hide him defensively early in his career? What position is he going to play and can he do it at a high level? There are so many questions surrounding him, despite being one of the most highly touted prospects in recent memory. 

As for Parker and the Magic, it seems very unlikely at this point. With Joel Embiid most likely falling out of the top three, Parker slipping to the Magic would be a miracle. However, Orlando does have the assets that could allow them to move up a couple of spots and select Parker, should he be the team’s main target. 


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