Cavaliers should take Jabari Parker with top pick
Posted May 30, 2014
For the third time in the last four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have the top overall pick in the NBA draft. They may shop the pick to try and lure a guy like Kevin Love. But IF the Cavs are the first to hand their card to Commissioner Adam Silver, it should read Jabari Parker. The number he wore in college should coincide with his draft position.
Parker is the most NBA ready player among those being considered for the top three picks. I like Andrew Wiggins but Parker is a more complete player at this time. Joel Embiid has only been playing basketball since he was 16. What about the stress fracture in his back?
Cleveland can't wait for a player to develop. They did that last year with the surprising pick of UNLV's Anthony Bennett. How bad was the pick? Bennett averaged 4.2 points and 3 rebounds per game. Those are the worst numbers for the top overall pick since 2001 when the Wizards selected, GULP, Kwame Brown. His first year numbers were 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.
With Parker, the Cavaliers get instant help. I think back to something Duke assistant Jeff Capel said about Jabari, calling the 6'-8" forward one of the best scorers he has ever seen. Remember, Capel had Blake Griffin at Oklahoma. In no way was Capel insinuating that Parker is a Griffin but he likes Parker's ability to score from multiple places on the court.
One of the areas where college helped Jabari is defense. He still has a loooooonnnnnggg way to go on the defensive end but he's better today than he was when he walked on Duke's campus.
Cleveland has been lucky winning the lottery 4 times in the last 12 years. The top picks were LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett. They should add Jabari Parker to that list. He's less of a project that the rest of the field.
Teams draft for "upside" but Cleveland can't this time. They need the surest bet and right now that's Jabari Parker.