Duke's Parker selected No. 2 overall; Warren, Hood, Hairston go in 1st
Posted June 26
Updated June 27
Brooklyn, N.Y. — Duke forward Jabari Parker was selected No. 2 overall Thursday in the NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Parker becomes the highest draft pick out of Duke since Kyrie Irving in 2011 and is the ninth Blue Devil to go in the first round in the last nine years.
The one-and-done star immediately becomes a face for an organization with new ownership seeking to invigorate its fan base following a franchise-worst 67-loss season. The 6-foot-8 Parker has been lauded for his maturity and offensive skills.
At No. 14, the Phoenix Suns made NC State's TJ Warren their first-round selection. The 6-foot-8, 215-pound small forward was the ACC player of the year after averaging 24.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season.
Warren, a second-team All-American, became the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in scoring and field goal percentage. Last season, he scored 41 points against Pittsburgh and a career-high 42 in a win over Boston College.
Duke forward Rodney Hood was selected No. 23 overall by the Utah Jazz. Hood joins Parker as first-round picks from the Blue Devils, marking the fourth consecutive year Duke has had multiple draft picks.
PJ Hairston, who played most recently in the NBA-Developmental League after being ruled ineligible at North Carolina, was selected No. 26 overall by the Miami Heat. It is presumed that the selection will be traded to the Charlotte Hornets, although all draft-day trades need to be approved by the league.
Thursday marked the first time Duke, UNC and NC State all three had first-round draft picks since 1992 when Christian Laettner, Hubert Davis and Tom Gugliotta all went in round one. Prior to '92, the only other times each of the three Triangle schools produced a first-rounder in the same year was 1977, 1980 and 1986.
Andrew Wiggins of Kansas was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick. The Cavs went for a freshman from Canada to open the draft for the second straight year and will hope Wiggins works out better than Anthony Bennett.
Wiggins seems a much more ready product after averaging a Kansas freshman-record 17.1 points. He might have ended up as the top pick anyway, but became the best option for the Cavs when Jayhawks teammate Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his right foot shortly before the draft.
The 76ers had two top-10 picks and could afford to take a chance on Embiid, the big man who may have ended up the top prize despite his lone season at Kansas ending early because of a bad back. But once the foot injury popped up during workouts, leaving his NBA debut uncertain after surgery, the two teams at the top passed.
Arizona forward Aaron Gordon went fourth to Orlando, which also had two picks in the lottery.
Former UNC player Cecil Exum's son, Dante, was selected No. 5 overall by the Utah Jazz. He become's the third Australian born player to go in the top 5, joining Andrew Bogut and Kyrie Irving.
Bucks general manager John Hammond likes Parker for his ability to fit into multiple positions in the frontcourt.
"He's a matchup problem," Hammond said. "He can create a shot for himself, can also go into the post and put his back to the basket."
Defense, though, figures to be a work in progress. Hammond said Parker had quick feet for a big man, and noted that Parker figures to benefit from having to guard centers at times at Duke.
Regardless, Parker figures to have an easy transition in Milwaukee. He's from nearby Chicago, and former Blue Devils assistant Steve Wojciechowski is now head coach at Marquette.
The Bucks had three more picks in the second round. The new additions will arrive in Milwaukee just as New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens take over as owners.
Lasry and Wesley Edens bought the Bucks for $550 million this spring from former U.S. Sen Herb Kohl, who wasn't fond of using the word "rebuilding."
But that seemingly left the team without a clear, long-term philosophy in recent years. The Bucks have drafted relatively well under Hammond, though some veteran signings haven't panned out. The new owners have said they hope to build a championship contender within three to five years, about the same time frame in which they hope to build a new arena.
That makes this draft especially important for the Bucks. Parker will be relied on to add scoring punch as well as help put fans in the seats.
"He's as offensively gifted a player that I've been around at Duke," Wojciechowski said this week. "His instincts for scoring are unique, his size, his mobility his skill set — offensively, I see a guy who's going to be a 20-point-a-game scorer in the NBA for a long time."
Parker's former high school teammate, Steve Taylor Jr., also plays at Marquette, which shares the same home court at the Bradley Center as the Bucks.
Round 1 Picks:
1 Cleveland: Andrew Wiggins (SG) Kansas
2 Milwaukee: Jabari Parker (SF) Duke
3 Philadelphia: Joel Embiid (C) Kansas
4 Orlando: Aaron Gordon (PF) Arizona
5 Utah: Dante Exum (PG) Australia
6 Boston: Marcus Smart (PG) Oklahoma St
7 LA Lakers: Julius Randle (PF) Kentucky
8 Sacramento: Nik Stauskas (SG) Michigan
9 Charlotte: Noah Vonleh (PF) Indiana
10 Philadelphia: (Rights traded to Orlando from New Orleans via Philadelphia) Elfrid Payton (PG) Louisiana Lafayette
11 Denver: (Rights traded to Chicago) Doug McDermott (SF) Creighton
12 Orlando: (Magic trades Saric to Sixers for Payton. Originally from New York via Denver) Dario Saric (PF) Croatia
13 Minnesota: Zach LaVine (PG) UCLA
14 Phoenix: T.J. Warren (SF) NC State
15 Atlanta: Adreian Payne (PF) Mich St
16 Chicago: (Rights traded to Denver from Charlotte via Chicago) Jusuf Nurkic (C) Bosnia
17 Boston: James Young (SF) Kentucky
18 Phoenix: Tyler Ennis (PG) Syracuse
19 Chicago: (Rights traded to Denver) Gary Harris (SG) Mich St
20 Toronto: Bruno Caboclo (SF) Brazil
21 Oklahoma City: Mitch McGary (PF) Michigan
22 Memphis: Jordan Adams (SG) UCLA
23 Utah: Rodney Hood (SG) Duke
24 Charlotte: Rights traded to Miami. Originally from Portland. Shabazz Napier (PG) UConn
25 Houston: Clint Capela (PF) Switzerland
26 Miami: (To Charlotte) P.J. Hairston (SG) UNC
27 Phoenix: Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG) Serbia
28 LA Clippers: C.J. Wilcox (SG) Washington
29 Oklahoma City: Josh Huestis (PF) Stanford
30 San Antonio: Kyle Anderson (PF) UCLA