Kansas’ Joel Embiid has been climbing everyone’s NBA Draft boards as of late. However, for much of the collegiate season, atop most NBA Draft “analysts” big boards has been Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and/or Duke’s Jabari Parker.
And right now, just on the eye test, it appears that Parker is a little more far along (progression-wise) than Wiggins. Thus, most people believe that if Embiid doesn’t go No. 1 overall come June, it’ll be Parker. Of course, if he goes on to declare like most people expect him to.
Though, it may not be that easy. According to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, a few NBA executives are increasingly to believe that Parker may in fact return to Duke for his sophomore season.
And the growing view among NBA executives seems to be Jabari Parker will not leave Duke this year. Chicagoan Jahlil Okafor, a Parker friend and big man, is going to Duke next season. Parker is a bright young man with a strong family and the feeling is he understands both the importance of education and feels he owes Duke and the chance to have a great Duke team, which more than likely is the next two seasons. Plus, Parker has seen what staying in school has done for other greats compared with the tough starts for even stars like Kobe Bryant.
Parker is currently averaging 19.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season for the Blue Devils. The first thing that comes to my mind after reading this “report” is why? I mean, honestly, what more could Parker do? Average 20 and 10? Maybe?
Is that much better, though? It won’t be in the minds of NBA draft people. If he’s already projected as a No. 1 overall pick, what does he have to gain? Nothing. Zero. Zip. The only thing that could happen is that his stock could fall, or he could get injured.
If he makes it through this season for Duke injured-free and has a ho-hum rest of the season, there’s no way that Parker should return to school. I just don’t see it.
But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t criticize him for whichever decision he decides to go with. When it’s all said and done, it’s his decision. It’s none of ours. We shouldn’t be the ones to decide his future, he should.
I just hope Parker does what’s best for Parker. Not what’s best for Duke or what’s best for college basketball.