Simeon’s Jabari Parker taken second by Bucks in NBA Draft
By GENARO C. ARMAS AP Sports Writer June 26, 2014 6:54PM
Duke's Jabari Parker, right, drives against Virginia's Akil Mitchell, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Will Jabari Parker make an immediate impact?
Updated: June 26, 2014 9:56PM
Jabari Parker will be more than just a potential go-to player in the post for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The second overall pick in the NBA draft immediately becomes a face of a team looking to rebound from a franchise-worst 67-loss season. New ownership in Milwaukee hopes to construct a championship contender within five years.
Conversely, the 19-year-old Parker, who starred at Simeon High School, wanted to play for the Bucks, barely 90 minutes from his hometown of Chicago. He said he’s mostly prepared for the pressure.
“Because my pride won’t get in the way from what the team wants me to do,” Parker said. “I want to fulfill my role and I want to do whatever it takes to win.”
The Duke one-and-done star would join 19-year-old forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and scoring guard Brandon Knight as promising team cornerstones. This figures to be just the first step for an organization hoping to invigorate its fan base.
“So I don’t think I’ll be the face of the program. I just want to be somebody that plays along good guys, and [who are] willing to win,” Parker said.
The 6-8 forward has been lauded for his offensive skills and maturity. Andrew Wiggins was also under consideration, but the Cleveland Cavaliers made the Bucks’ decision easier after taking the Kansas star with the top pick.
There were no last-minute trade offers, general manager John Hammond said, though it appears the Bucks weren’t going to make any deals anyway unless it was really overwhelming.
“We were fairly assured that this is exactly what we needed to do,” Hammond said. “I feel even more so after it’s done.”
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, figures to be a work in progress. Hammond said Parker had quick feet for a big man, and noted that he figures to benefit from having to guard centers at times at Duke.
Parker 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.