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Duke’s Jabari Parker says he will enter NBA Draft

Apr 17, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

Duke v Mercer Getty Images

This was expected, even after Duke’s early and unceremonious exit from the NCAA Tournament and despite all the rumors to the contrary.

Duke’s Jabari Parker will declare for the NBA draft, he said in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.

Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions:

Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player?

Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court?

The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA.

He also writes that the other key factor was that another year in college shrinks his earning potential as a professional. For the guys at the top of the draft this is key — they are very likely to get big second contracts (and beyond) and if they get to them a year earlier they can earn more over the course of their career.

Parker spends the first part of the article talking about all the reasons it was hard for him to leave Duke, and he said he plans to graduate from the school while in the NBA.

Lately I haven’t slept much. Although my dream is to play in the NBA, I’ve gotten pretty attached to life at Duke and I don’t want to utter the word goodbye.

This is the right move for Parker, for the reasons he outlined above. It’s a business for him now.

Parker, 6’8” and can plan the three or four in the NBA, is likely a top three pick. He’s as high as No. 1 on some scout’s boards and there is no way he falls past No. 4. Most teams seem to have the Kansas duo of Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins higher, but we’ll see how the lottery shakes out the draft order before making predictions.

He’s also the freshman best poised to make an impact as a rookie — his offensive game is NBA ready and he can put up points in the league, PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of and Rotoworld said.

“A highly skilled scorer for a freshman. He is comfortable in the post and on the perimeter, can attack of the dribble, and can the run the floor as well as most guards,” Isaacson told PBT. “As good as he is on offense, his defensive lapses can be that bad. Needs to learn a lot of the defensive basics, but still finds a way to be a good rebounder.”

We saw those defensive lapses when Duke lost to Mercer in the first round and Mike Krzyzewski had to bench Parker to get defense on the court.

But teams think they can work on and improve his defense. You can’t teach what he does on offense.

  1. calkinsrob - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Damn. I was hoping hed stay another year.

  2. tfilarski - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    at least milwaukee is close to where he is from

  3. pharohislife - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Smart move, what’s the word on Julius Randle.

  4. azarkhan - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to one simple question:

    Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to become rich?

    The answer is undeniably the NBA.

    • zerole00 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Iunno dude, risking injury for free in college sounds like a pretty sweet deal.


      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        but, but… free education and school pride and things!

  5. rajbais - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    The best player of the draft.

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Best player maybe, but not the best prospect. Big Diff.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Pretty much… you could probably argue that Wade and Carmelo were the best “players” out of the 2003 Draft because they had the biggest impact their rookie years… but clearly they weren’t the “prospect” that LeBron was and he’s shown it over the last 10 or so years by becoming the better player.

      • chicitybulls - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Who cares about that. People that draft on potential are taking a huge risk. There’s been plenty of players drafted off of their potential that has never been fulfilled. Gimme the guy that can come in and play and play well right now. People think he’s done growing his game and I just dont know where that’s coming from. Is it because he’s already good and there’s little room to improve vs a guy that’s kind of good and may get better. I guess that’s a way to go but as I said, give me the really good player that can impact a team right now. That guy will get better as well.

      • rajbais - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        The best players have usually been better than the best prospects.

        Why? It takes intelligence to be a better player.

        The 1984 NBA Draft was the best one ever and those were players, not prospects.

        Plus, drafts till 1999 always had more players than prospects. What’s gone on since then? A decline in overall play to bring middle america back.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        @chicity, it’s not about potential, it’s about tools. GMs care more about if a player has the tools to be great, especially this high in the draft. Parker is a good player, but he will never have the lateral quickness or athleticism as someone like Exum or Wiggins, or even Embiid. It’s not like those guys are potential and nothing else, they just have more tools than parker. I think parker will get better, but I would take him 4th.

      • chicitybulls - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:30 PM

        @boogy – athleticism only gets you so far. A guy like Terrance Ross is more athletic than Carmelo but if you had to choose between the two, who are you choosing? I think Parker will be quick enough to guard his position. Besides defense is more about team defense and rotations anyway. If he goes to the right situation he’ll be just fine. If somehow he landed on the Bulls (I know it wont happen) but in a Tom Thibs defense, he will be fine. However if the Lakers choose him, he may have a harder time defensively. Having said all of that, he can score and rebound, 2 things a 3 or 4 needs to do. I’m not as high on Wiggins as most people are. I think he’ll be a good player but not this transcendent player that some of the media is making him out to be. He’s disappeared in many a game this year. We’ll agree to disagree though. No way in the world I’d draft him as low as 4. No lower than 2 and it’s hard to see anyone I’d take over him.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        yeah aboogy, there is a big difference…

        MANY of the prospects do NOT pan out or become as good as folks thought they might…

        It’s the old one in the hand vs. two in the bush…

        One already KNOWS he’s one of the BEST players… or GAMBLE on a prospect reaching his predicted heights (and many don’t)…

  6. mungman69 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    You go to college to learn how to make a living.

  7. beavertonsteve - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    There’s nothing keeping him from continuing his education at Duke. He’ll certainly be able to afford to pay for it now.

  8. kb2408 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    He will be a star on the next level. A slightly bigger version of Paul Pierce. And he really seems like he’s a good kid off the court. I think he really wanted to reurn to Duke but it’s hard to turn down top 3 money. Duke sure would’ve been fun to watch next season had he returned though.

  9. 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Atta boy

  10. bbtaz97 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    As much as i loved college , i wouldn’t turn down millions of dollars for another year of it either!

  11. dirkanger23 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    You guys gotta be out of your minds if you think he’s slipping past the 76ers at pick #2. It’s either gonna be Wiggins & Parker at 1 & 2 or vice versa, unless thee NBA decides to fix the lottery and have the Lakers weasel their way into it.

    • couldntthinkofaname - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Tin-foil Hat Dude has arrived.

    • beavertonsteve - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      The Lakers have over a 20% chance of landing in the top 3. They have about a 35% chance of losing positions in the draft. I’d say both those scenarios are well within reason.

  12. money2long - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    do you think people will think the lottery is rigged if the lakers win the first selection

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      I would go as far as saying it would solidify it in everyone’s minds. There won’t be one non-Laker fan on here not crying foul.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        The Lakers lost over 50 games and people are still crying about them getting things rigged for them, of course people will be crying about the Lakers.

      • tfoz5150 - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Hey if you’re going to admit their lousy record, at least come clean and admit the “tank” was on for the Lakeshow ; )

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        @ tfoz

        Nosir! The tank was not real. LOL

        That’s just the product you get when you’re coached all O and All-Star game-style D. Just look at how horrible we were WITH Kobe, D12, Pau and Nash. All that star power and barely made the 8th seed. What you think our record was gonna be with this cast of characters this go round with MDA?

      • tfoz5150 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        I don’t care how you get there. A GM can disguise it anyway they want, but you can’t tell me that the bottom 8 or 9 of the standings weren’t purposely trying to position themselves to land one of the elite talents coming out in this draft. And yes, that includes your beloved Lakers. Other wise Kobe would’ve been out there playing. You can’t tell me that he’s such a competitor that under normal circumstances he would’ve fine sitting out when you and I both know he could’ve been playing. It’s alright though to tank is natural.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        Kobe was dealing with multiple injuries and the season was already lost at that point, it was best to shut him down and preserve him. Even if he could play, he shouldn’t have. I like your “to tank is natural” line though! I lol’d. It just doesn’t apply to the Lakers

      • tfoz5150 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        So you’re telling me that the Lakers were trying to win with that crap they put out there on the floor. Not buying it. Look you can believe whatever you want to, but If it looks like a duck and walks like a know the rest. Plus Kobe was cleared to play a while ago. Why not put me out there “to win some games?” Clearly once they lost Howard, Nash was hurt and then Kobe wasn’t all the way back management had one goal in mind for this season and that included one J. Meeks as part of their foundation. Don’t worry, though. Like I said to tank is natural. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I just saw on SportsCenter, and they referred to the Celtic’s attempt at it and they called it “rebuilding.”

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        Jodie Meeks is a franchise player. I hope they use all their cap space to retain him. With his emergence as a top tier guard, Kobe and Nash coming back, and our shinny new rookie, we’re right back in contender status babyyyy!

      • money2long - Apr 18, 2014 at 12:48 AM

        What would have happened if the lakers “amnestied that” ? Would Kobe have been able to play this upcoming season for LA?

  13. hwatt - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    I just hope he can keep his head on straight and not suffer as a man (of actual integrity) when he has unlimited access to money and hos. (let’s see if the censors are paying attention)

  14. lj312chicago - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Chicago made

  15. lj312chicago - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Celtics or lakers will sneak into the 2 or 3 spot and get wiggins or Parker. Rigged every year

    • lphboston - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      Check your history. Celtics always take it in the groin when they are hoping to get a high pick.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:06 PM

      Must be why the Celtics got Tim Duncan in 1997. And why they didn’t fall out of the top 4 picks in 2007 despite having the second worst record.

      • 1historian - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        Last time the Celts had #1 was in the 1980 draft when they had Detroit’s first pick. Golden State wanted that pick REAL bad and Red Auerbach played footsie and hard to get and eventually the Celts traded their overall #1 to G.S. for the overall #3 and a little used center named Robert Parish. Boston picked Kevin McHale with the 3rd overall pick and pretty soon McHale and Parish and a 2nd year guy named Larry Bird were doing pretty good.

        Since then there has only been one other draft where a GM got two NBA champ starters in one draft – 1989 when Jerry Krause got Horace Grant and Scotty Pippen in the same draft.

        The Celts had the worst record in 2007 and only got the 5th pick and they did ok with that – DA made some trades and got Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and that worked oyut pretty well.

        DA was trained by Red Auerbach. Getting the overall #1 don’t mean SH++ unless you KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT. The Celts have 2 #1 in this draft and I think around 8 or 9 in the next 4 or 5 drafts – expect some serious wheeling and dealing this summer. Ainge now has the tools, and he has proven he knows how to use them.

        Be afraid, lakers, 6ers – be VERY afraid. by 2016 the Celts will have Brooklyn’s #1 and with Pierce and Garnett gone by then it will probably be a lottery pick.

        FYI – I am a Celtics’ fan

      • tfoz5150 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Good for you. The way I see the Sixers are set up pretty darn good themselves. Thanks in part to a nice influx of talent and coaching from your fine city. However don’t count on one of those 1st coming by way of my team next year, because as tough as it was for me to gut it out this year, I’ll most gladly endure another abominable season of the same if it ensures that we won’t have to hand over our first round pick to your such “storied” franchise. By the way, it’ll be much more palatable watching the likes of Wiggins, Noel, and MCW play Washington Generals to the competition, knowing that the lure of a certain ball player whose initials rhyme with LBJ are potentially on the horizon for ’15. So you can take all your future draft hopes and come see us in two years.

  16. snipedanglecelly13 - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    I’ll bet a $100 that he will be a laker…

  17. sumkat - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Has Randle declared, or is he the last of the “top prospects” that is holding out?

  18. therealhtj - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    He’s a mormon which would make him Utah’s first ever lottery pick who wasn’t disappointed upon hearing they drafted him.

  19. boyshole25 - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Benji Wilson is smiling from above. Great job Jabari, this cuse fan wishes you the best man.

  20. antistratfordian - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Was there really any question? His hesitation was a PR move. A smart one.

  21. bballhistorian - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    He didnt need to write an article on all that. Indication that he cares a little too much about what ppl think of him.

    Other than that…this guy will be a superstar in this league in years to come.

  22. cantonb0und13 - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Hopefully, the Bucks get Wiggins or Parker. They haven’t been relevant since they had Ray Allen.

  23. gomybirdsgo - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    If Parker, wiggins, or Embiid end up with the lakers, celtics or Knicks I will never watch the nba again.

    • 1historian - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      yes you will

    • money2long - Apr 18, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      I’m not sure how either of those guys would end up on the Knicks but I’d be happy to see it

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