Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NBA Assistant: Jabari Parker Would Be the Best Player on the Utah Jazz
How much did Jabari Parker impress the NBA scouts on Tuesday night in Chicago when he went off for 27 points in a loss to Kansas?
“That dude could play right now [in the NBA], like today,” one NBA assistant coach who sat courtside told SNY.tv.
“Like if he left Duke right now and said, ‘I’m leaving,’ he would be Utah’s best player. He would be a lot of teams’ best player.”
For the record, the Utah Jazz are 1-9 entering Saturday’s action.
Nearly 80 NBA personnel watched the Champions Classic, and came out with differing opinions on who was the most impressive between Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle.Magic Johnson and Jalen Rosetold SNY.tv exclusively they would draft the 6-foot-9 Randle first.
One NBA GM said he would take Wiggins first.
“They’re all three very different so for that GM he might look at Wiggins like he fits the profile of his team better,” the NBA assistant said. “Maybe he has a couple of post players already so he’s looking at the upside of Wiggins and his star power.”
Kevin Durant told Yahoo! Sports that Wiggins and Parker are like 1A and 1B.
For his part, the assistant would take Parker first.
“Me personally, if I had to rank all three I’ve always felt that Jabari is the best player,” he said.
Some questions exist about Parker’s ability to guard, but the NBA assistant doesn’t share those concerns.
“I watched him guard Kevin Durant for four straight days at Nike Skills Academy,” he said. “Ask anybody what he did that week. He was ridiculous.”
Parker projects as a top-3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but longtime New York recruiting analyst Tom Konchalskiposits that Parker might be persuaded to spend another year at Duke now that his friend and former AAU teammate Jahlil Okafor has pledged to the Blue Devils — along with Tyus Jones.
In an interview Saturday with SNY.tv, Sonny Parker, Jabari’s father, said the two are friends but that both players would do what’s best for themselves. He added that Jabari is focused on his freshman year, which has just begun, and isn’t focused on next season.
“We don’t know what his plans are,” Sonny said.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.