The Cleveland Cavaliers sit in the driver’s seat in the upcoming NBA Draft. With the #1 pick in a draft that people have pointed to for at least 2 years, the Cavs can shape the face of their franchise with 1 pick or 1 trade. The narrative was that this draft would be franchise changing for anyone who got a Top 3 pick. For the Cavs on Lottery night the narrative was that it changed everything to get the #1 pick. Yet since that time the narrative has changed. Joel Embiid‘s back, Andrew Wiggins attitude and handle and Jabari Parker‘s defense and athletic ability have all been called in to question.
For most analysts and fans the Cavs are choosing between Embiid, provided his back is fine, and Wiggins. The story is that the only way Parker is the #1 pick is if Dan Gilbert is too meddlesome and wants the player that can produce right away. The narrative on Parker is that he can’t defend small forwards, is ball dominate and has a much lower ceiling then the other two. Yet take a look at his workout video and see if any of those concerns manifest themselves:
Parker looks leaner then most describe him, not as thick hipped as many have noted. His agility is clear as he makes his cuts and finishes at or near the rim. His dribble seems high and his behind the back or spin dribble need tightened up but he seems to have a fine handle on the ball. His touch at the rim is nice, floaters instead of just dunks were great to see. The video shows no defense but his lateral movements seem to show the ability to defend.
Most claim defense is based on effort, length, quickness and basketball IQ. Two of those can’t be measured or seen on tape but are clearly known after some time in the league. Parker’s ability to put the ball in the basket, play with his back to the basket and overall talent level is immense. Yet can he learn to play in an offensive system that demands ball movement? Can he lock down the opposing team’s elite small forward on defense? Can he move without the ball?
The interesting narrative at this point is that while all 3 of the possible top picks have concerns it is clear that all 3 could carry their teams as the franchise player. Parker is the most known commodity of all 3, but does that make him the best or the worst?
Does this video alter your thoughts on Parker at all?