Tag Archive | Jabari Parker

The Three Major Questions Heading Into Tonight’s NBA Draft Plus Mock Draft 2014

By Nick Guy

  1. What will Cleveland do?

The choices seem to be down to three: Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Trade out. While nobody would ever imagine trading out of the first pick in a draft where there are such high ceiling players, we ARE talking about the Cavs. One rumor has the Orlando Magic offering the 4th and 12th picks plus scoring forward Aron Afflalo. If Cleveland is truly in love with Joel Embiid this might make some sense as they could try to add Embiid with the 4th pick and add a second lottery pick and a good player in return. On the other hand if Embiid’s injury problems are chronic and Wiggins or Parker turn out to be…well you know the rest. As for Parker, there are rumors swirling that he wants no part of Cleveland and would be much happier in Milwaukee. If I am the Cavs I would not listen to anyone or anything and just take the best player, pair him with Kyrie Irving and move on. In my eyes that would be Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has the most upside of anyone in the draft and will be a future star in the league.

 

  1. Where will Joel Embiid land?

Is Embiid’s injury bad timing or good timing? Depends who you ask. I would say bad timing for Joel Embiid but maybe lucky timing for the Cavs? As the draft banter has progressed in the last month or so all I kept hearing was Embiid was going first to the Cavs who were drooling at his potential. My thoughts? Always take the best player which to me means Andrew Wiggins 1st, Jabari Parker 2nd and Joel Embiid 3rd. I wondered if Cavs management had been stuck in a cave for the past 30 years and never heard the stories of Sam Bowie and Michael Jordan or Greg Oden and Kevin Durant? Is it possible they would pass on Wiggins and Parker to pick the injury prone big man with potential? Bad timing for Philly who at pick number 3 had to be giddy in thinking the Cavs would leave them Wiggins or Parker. How lucky can Cleveland be? First they come all the way up to win the lottery and snag the 1st pick and then an injury might actually force them to take the best player? WOW!! With that said, please understand that this is not to denigrate Joel Embiid who is an exceptional prospect. Just not the top prospect. So where does he land? I think the highest spot he could go is 3rd. The 76ers will choose between Embiid and Dante Exum or possibly maneuver within the top 6 or 7 with someone who will take a shot at Embiid. I don’t think he will last past Boston at number 6 and the teams most involved seem to be the 76ers, Celtics, Lakers and Magic.

Look for Joel Embiid to go in that 3-6 range in tonight's NBA Draft (Via USA Today)

Look for Joel Embiid to go in that 3-6 range in tonight’s NBA Draft (Via USA Today)

  1. How will LeBron and Melo’s free agency impact the draft?

When you are chasing free agents of this magnitude there are always two things to remember. First, the more cap room you have the better off you are and second, only one team gets them and the rest are left in limbo. So what does this mean for the draft? Teams will look to couple expiring deals with draft picks to create room for marquee names. The Lakers have already offered #7 with Steve Nash’s contract to suitors. The Bulls are looking to offload their 2 first rounders with Carlos Boozer to fit a max guy. Houston, Miami and OKC are all looking at moving out of the bottom of the first round and into the top of the second round where contracts are not guaranteed. The NBA draft has become a chess board where cap space has become more valuable than a mid level prospect. Expect to see at least a half dozen and potentially more first round picks move tonight. All the movement will be designed to free up valuable space and the beneficiaries of that could be teams like Philly, Utah, Detroit, Phoenix, Cleveland and Milwaukee. Those are the key teams that will have the maneuverability to add a player with an expiring contract without trading one away plus get a sweetener in return. Should be a very interesting night.

 

And now Mock Draft 2014

I will not include trades but I expect at least 6 or 7 and maybe as many as 10 or 12 before the night is over.

1. CLEVELAND- Andrew Wiggins-Kansas

2. MILWAUKEE- Jabari Parker-Duke

3. PHILADELPHIA- Dante Exum-Australia

4. ORLANDO- Joel Embiid- Kansas

5. UTAH- Noah Vonleh-Indiana

6. BOSTON- Doug McDermott-Creighton

7. LA LAKERS- Marcus Smart-Oklahoma State

8. SACRAMENTO- Aaron Gordon- Arizona

9.CHARLOTTE- Nik Stauskas-Michigan

10.PHILADELPHIA-Julius Randle-Kentucky

11. DENVER- James Young-Kentucky

12. ORLANDO-Elfrid Payton-Louisiana Lafayette

13. MINNESOTA- Rodney Hood- Duke

14. PHOENIX- Dario Saric- Croatia

15. ATLANTA- Zach Lavine-UCLA

16. CHICAGO- Gary Harris- Michigan St

17. BOSTON-Jusuf Nurkic- Bosnia

18. PHILADELPHIA- Kyle Anderson –UCLA

19. CHICAGO-Adreian Payne- Michigan State

20. TORONTO- Tyler Ennis- Syracuse

21. OKLAHOMA CITY- Jerami Grant- Syracuse

22. MEMPHIS- Shabazz Napier- UCONN

23. UTAH- Mitch McGary- Michigan

24.CHARLOTTE- TJ Warren-NC State

25.HOUSTON- Jordan Adams-UCLA

26. MIAMI- Patric Young- Florida

27. PHOENIX- KJ McDaniels-Clemson

28. LA CLIPPERS- PJ Hairston_ Texas Legends

29. OKLAHOMA CITY- Cleanthony Early- Wichita State

30. SAN ANTONIO-Clint Capela- Switzerland

 

 

Duke Nails Top Prospects

By Christian Pierre-Louis

In the mere span of a few seconds Friday afternoon, Duke became the likely favorite for the 2014-15 national championship. That’s what happens when two of the five best high school players in the country announce their decision to be Blue Devils. Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones are both headed to play for Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. They chose the Blue Devils over Kansas and Baylor.

The two players always thought to be a package deal, never really wavered in that aspect of each one’s recruitment. Okafor and Jones didn’t play high school or AAU basketball on the same team, but represented USA Basketball together and became close friends from playing at elite camps and tournaments around the country. A couple of teams attempted to split them up, but it never worked. Despite various rumors to the contrary, Okafor and Jones followed through on their package deal.

 

Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor made a splash and signed with Duke (Via Adidas and AP)

Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor made a splash and signed with Duke (Via Adidas and AP)

Okafor, a 6-foot-11 center from Whitney Young (Ill.), is ranked No. 1 in most rankings including the 247Sports Composite, Rivals, and ESPN. He is an absolutely dominant force on the inside, and is the best back-to-the-basket player to come across the high school landscape in a very long time. He can get position on the interior, and then is able to score in a variety of ways. Okafor is also capable of passing out of double teams. He has terrific hands and is an outstanding rebounder.

Meanwhile, Jones, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Apple Valley (Minn.), is among the top five in all the major recruiting rankings. It became clear a couple of years ago that he would be the best pure point guard in the country, given his high-level basketball IQ and ability to run an offense and control tempo. Jones is a great passer with vision, but he’s also very adept at scoring in his own right. He has good range to the 3-point line and while he isn’t overly explosive, Jones can change speeds effectively.

Okafor and Jones join previous commit Grayson Allen in Duke’s 2014 recruiting class. Regardless of who stays and who goes pro from this year’s Blue Devil team, it’s certainly not a stretch to say that Duke will be the favorite heading into next season. Okafor gives them the most dominant big man in the country, while Jones is clearly one of the top point guards in the nation. Even if Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood decide to go pro, Krzyzewski will have the pieces to win a national title.

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Christian Pierre-Louis is a journalism major at Seton Hall University. He is a HUGE fan of the, LA Lakers, NY Giants, and NY Yankees. He is also an assistant sports producer at Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU 89.5 FM. You can follow him on twitter at @CPL_78.

Tuesday Preview: The Champions Classic

By Jared Bursky

How great is it that the Final Four begins tonight? Hold on a minute. It’s only November 12th. You would hardly know with the matchups in Chicago tonight. At 7:30 #1 Kentucky takes on #2 Michigan State, followed by #4 Duke and #5 Kansas, in what may be a preview of this year’s Final Four. Here is what you should be looking for in the two matchups:

#1 Kentucky v. #2 Michigan State (7:30 ESPN)

Quick Notes

  • The game will be the earliest ever matchup between #1 and #2. Previously the earliest was November 29th.
  • Kentucky’s freshman class, regarded by many as the best class ever, battles against its first ranked opponent.

For Michigan State to win it must:

TAKE CARE OF THE BALL. Michigan State opening the season with major problems in the turnover department has seemed to become an annual event. Oddly, as March approaches these problems are typically solved, but to beat a team with the talent of Kentucky, turnovers cannot happen. Easy baskets will feed confidence to this young Wildcat team, and that’s when they will really start rolling. Michigan State needs to be efficient on offense lead by the evolving Keith Appling on the point guard position. Making life tough on Kentucky may show their inexperience.

For Kentucky to win it must:

REBOUND. We all know Michigan State will rebound at a high rate on both sides of the ball. Kentucky’s toughness will be tested most on the boards. For the Wildcats to win, they MUST compete on the boards, especially on the defensive end. If Michigan State imposes its will on the offensive boards, Kentucky will have a hard time. Extra possessions for the likes of Harris and Payne are bad news. The Wildcats have the athletes to rebound effectively, but with their inexperience, they have yet to see a machine like they will see tonight. Expect the team that controls the boards to have the inside track to win this game.

Key Matchup:

Branden Dawson/Adreian Payne vs. Julius Randle

Randle is undoubtedly the pulse of this Kentucky team, posting double-doubles in both of his first two games. If Michigan State can contain him and make him work on the defensive end it can be successful. On the flip side, if Randle gets into a rhythm early and attacks the boards like he has been, Kentucky could build confidence early and turn that into success.

X Factors:

Michigan State- Keith Appling, PG: This year will be Appling’s third year at the point. Entering his sophomore year he transitioned from the off guard position. If he can take care of the ball, provide some scoring, and distribute to Harris and Payne, Michigan State can come out of Chicago with a win.

Kentucky- Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson, C: One seven foot center is dangerous, who knows what the possibilities are when a team has two. Kentucky does. You know Izzo wants to establish his guys in the paint early. If these two can provide rebounding and rim protection, Kentucky will be in great shape.

#4 Duke v. #5 Kansas (9:30 ESPN)

Quick Notes

  • Coach K 3 – Bill Self 0: Self has lost all three matchups against Duke.
  • Another 1 v 2: Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, the top two recruits coming into this year, battle for the first time at the college level.

For Duke to win it must:

APPLY PRESSURE ON THE BALL. Kansas has an inexperienced backcourt with Duke being the exact opposite. Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton need to make life hard for Kansas’ guards. Duke once again has an uncanny ability to make shots from beyond the arc. Open looks for Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Cook and Thornton would prove to be a nightmare for Kansas. If Duke pressures the ball to create turnovers and bad possessions, the running game and three point shot could get going early and often. Duke also does not have Mason Plumlee as a rim protector anymore. They do not have great size in the frontcourt. Preventing easy entries into the post will be critical to Coach K and the Blue Devils

For Kansas to win it must:

HAVE SECONDARY SCORING. Kansas cannot rely on Andrew Wiggins to carry them. Duke will attack in waves with different players. Having point guard Naadir Tharpe back from a one game suspension will surely help the Jayhawks, but Kansas needs a group effort. Cue Perry Ellis and Tarik Black. Ellis really started to come on toward the end of last season while Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis, has the potential to dominate a game in the paint. If Kansas can feed these two guys on the block and score early, Kansas can open up opportunities for Wiggins and fellow freshman Wayne Seldon Jr. to make plays.

Key Matchup:

Andrew Wiggins vs. Jabari Parker

Hold on a minute. We get to see #1 and #2 play at 7:30, and it might get better at 9:30? Wiggins and Parker may be the BEST matchup of individuals we will see all year long. Parker was the number one recruit for so long until Wiggins skyrocketed past him. Does a small rivalry exist here? Maybe. What we do know is that two of the best freshmen and players in America will matchup against each other tonight in Chicago, and the winner of this matchup puts his team in a great position to get a meaningful early season win. This is a must see, period.

Wiggins and Parker will go head to head in this early season matchup (Via USA Today Sports)

Wiggins and Parker will go head to head in this early season matchup (Via USA Today Sports)

X Factors:

Duke- The Bigs: Discounting Parker whose versatility will have him in different spots, Duke’s big men accounted for only 15 of its 111 points in its opening game win vs. Davidson. Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston in particular, need to provide rebounding, toughness, and more offensive output. With incredible scoring and versatility from its guards, Duke will cruise if this happens.

Kansas- Andrew White III, G/F: This 6-6, 210 sophomore chipped in 12 points in Kansas’ first game. More importantly he nailed 3-5 attempts from beyond the arc. Kansas does not have a bevy of shooters to rely on, so if White can come off the bench and make shots, pressure will be taken off the shoulders of Wiggins. If White is in rhythm and Kansas decides to attack from the inside out, Tarik Black and Perry Ellis will have a great spot up option to kick out to.

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Jared Bursky is a freshman Physical Education major at SUNY Cortland. He was a Captain and starter for his high school basketball team and is pursuing coaching basketball at either the high school or college level. He roots for the Isles, Yanks, Jets, and Knicks but his favorite sport to watch is college basketball. You can follow him on twitter at @jbhoops10