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Report: NBA executives increasingly believe Jabari Parker will remain at Duke another season

Jan 20, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT

North Carolina State v Duke Getty Images

Andrew Wiggins hasn’t been quite as good as many hoped at Kansas, but that doesn’t significantly diminish the 2014 NBA Draft. This beauty of the upcoming draft – and the reason so many teams are tanking – is how strong and deep it is at the top.

The team with the NBA’s worst record gets just a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the lottery, hardly a safe proposition in a draft that features only one elite prospect. But this draft features several, meaning teams don’t need to combine tanking and lottery luck. Just tanking will do.

The NBA’s three worst teams will be guaranteed the option to pick at least one of Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum or Marcus Smart – that is if all six of those players declare for the draft, which is not a given.

Sam Smith of

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.

First of all, Parker owes Duke nothing. In fact, Duke owes him a lot more than the scholarship it’s giving him. Elite basketball players like Parker generate so much money for their schools, and most of it goes to coaches, administrators and other people whose compensation is artificially inflated by the NCAA’s absurd amateurism rules.

That said, if Parker wants to stay at Duke another year for whatever reason, more power to him. That’s his choice, and outsiders shouldn’t tell him what’s right or wrong for him.

I don’t actually expect Parker to stay, though. That’s easy for him to believe now, while he’s cruising, averaging 19.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. But what if he suffers a minor injury? That might convince him to stop risking his future for little compensation. What about when Duke’s season ends? That might give Parker the sense of finality he needs to go pro.

Or maybe, without any additional impetus, Parker just realizes how much money is at stake. I don’t know whether the Kobe comparison came from Sam Smith or trickled down from Parker himself, but the example seems pretty ridiculous. Does anyone think Kobe regrets how his career turned out? By skipping college, Kobe accelerated the timeline for getting his second contract – when NBA players really cash in – and added an additional year(s) to the post-rookie-scale portion of his career. Though there are plenty of variables that would have been affected, Kobe skipping a year of college basketball probably added more than $20 million to his career salaries.

Many players in Parker’s position consider staying in school. Few actually do. The money is just too great.

Lastly, we’re hearing this third-hand at best. Perhaps, Parker told NBA executives who told Smith. More likely, there were more links in the chain and more possibilities for the message to get twisted.

It’s possible Parker stays at Duke another year. I still consider that unlikely.

  1. money2long - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    maybe it’ll depend on where he thinks certain teams picks will be, in regards to potential draft order

    • casualcommenter - Jan 21, 2014 at 2:04 AM

      Doubtful. Whenever he declares, he’ll most likely be going to a bad team unless he does really poorly at the combine or suffers an injury, so I don’t see how waiting a year makes it more likely he’ll end up with an attractive team.

      If anything, this year is more attractive than usual for a lottery prospect to enter the draft since big-market teams like the Lakers, Celtics, 76’ers, etc. are all cruising to the lottery, which is unusual.

      • tomasekradek - Jan 21, 2014 at 4:03 AM

        Yeah, but there is also real chance he ends up in Milwaukee…
        That said i dont believe the draft order plays a big role when it comes to deciding about future

      • money2long - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        don’t equate attractive to great team. it can be a great situation that is attractive. rookies are all based on potential and so that should be the means in which they look at whatever situation they are getting into. a young team with assets and decent city can attract a star incoming rookie.

        it’s not that he should be scared of going to a bad team. it should be him liking the situation he can get into. this isn’t new. rookies judge the city. the potential playing time. and star rookies actually take that into consideration. a bad team can be a good situation for a rookie. depending on his usage. and star city potential.

    • chicagosports2014 - Jan 21, 2014 at 3:11 AM

      Maybe he don’t need the money, like you do. Draft order have nothing to do with it. He is not your average kid, read his bio.

      • money2long - Jan 21, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        ok. there are many elements that go into a rookie’s thinking. ie steve francis not wanting to go to memphis. or rubio not wanting to go to minnesota. these are cases of ppl judging the city.

  2. senorpapino - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    Assuming that next year’s team will be great and forego an almost certain top 3 pick in the draft is pretty risky. Just look at Kentucky this year – half the recruits haven’t lived up to the hype and some of the guys who stuck around (Poythress in particular) aren’t helping their draft stock.

  3. captainwisdom8888 - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    There’s good reason for Parker to want to just make the jump to the Pros after this season. Like you said, the money is too good and there’s always the chance his draft stock takes a hit because of an injury. On the other hand, staying 1 more year will give him a great chance of winning a national championship, developing more as a player to better make the pro transition, and he would likely solidify himself as the top pick in the 2015 Draft. Both decisions actually make a lot of sense in their own right.

    • misremembered72 - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      He would likely be the top pick if he stayed another year but college basketball is a lot different than the NBA many execs see guys who dominate in college and are unimpressed because of how they do so.
      If Doug Mcdermott doesn’t at least turn some heads at the combines don’t be surprised to see him slip to late first round even though he’s been a college superstar for 3 straight years (this year hes averaging 25 and 7. Andrew Wiggins by college statistics is having a pretty pedestrian year at 15 and 6 but dont expect to see him fall out of the top 3

  4. mytthor - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    I’m waiting for the BS comment that talks down about greedy kids don’t stay in school anymore.

    I’ll be the first one to admit, unless my family is already rich, there is no way I’m staying in school a year when I could be making millions in the NBA.

    If you’re a business major, and they offer you CEO of Google fresh out of high school, and you know you can do the job, what’s the decision?

    • innovativethinking87 - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      Besides what’s the point of going to college? To get a great job right? So why not speed up that process with a pretty decent paying job..

      • provguard - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:40 AM

        You might want to check the retirement age for the average NBA player? He still has to face somewhat of a normal life…

      • casualcommenter - Jan 21, 2014 at 2:00 AM

        “You might want to check the retirement age for the average NBA player”

        Completely irrelevant arguments. These guys easily can go “back” to school after retiring from the NBA in either their late 20’s or early 30’s.

        That’s because once you’ve banked millions of dollars as an NBA player, you can afford to attend college without an athletic scholarship. Going to college at age 35 doesn’t affect your NBA career earning because most players will have retired before then. However, staying in college an “extra” year during your early 20’s does affect your NBA career since that’s 1 year you could be earning 7 figures.

  5. provguard - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    Mr Feldman, for a person who doesn’t care if he goes or stays, your article is extremely pro-leave. You said Parker owes Duke nothing, but as a person who had to walk-on as a student, the price of education is expensive just to get in and then remain in school. However the price of an education is UNmeasurable!! Do some stories on these guys who spent all their money partying and ended up depending on family or handouts while they are still young? Jabari isn’t only basketball player, but a guy who will someday be too old to hang with the young guys. I would hope he does well in life…

  6. aboogy123456 - Jan 21, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    What is the difference between salary for the third overall pick and the first overall pick? I know if I was in his position I would go to the NBA, but this guy is so good that injury is less of a concern for him. He could tear his ACL and still potentially be the number one pick next year.

  7. unifiedtheone - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    I don’t care if he goes to NBA or not! The NBA SUCKS AND IS NOTHING LIKE IT USED TO BE! Watching the NBA now is like having my wisdom teeth removed! OUCH

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 21, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      Yet you come here to comment? You have some issues, apparently.

  8. ayochaser - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if he chose to stay. He doesn’t have that Andrew wiggins mentality of I’m only here for a year enjoy it while you can. I think his college selection before this year hinted at that. It was either BYU(for religious reasons) or Duke. Both rarely ever have 1 & done’s, and I’d assume he knew that. He probably planned to stay the entire time but just never said it. Plus even if he did, he’d likely be the top prospect barring any setbacks.

  9. vapor54 - Jan 23, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    Parker’s shooting PCT ain’t great. I don’t see him in the first five taken.

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