Attention, Celts: Jabari Parker enters NBA draft

Attention, Celts: Jabari Parker enters NBA draft
April 17, 2014, 3:00 pm
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BOSTON — The news that Jabari Parker was officially entering the NBA draft came as a surprise to no one.

Not after the hype he arrived with at Duke.

To his credit, he proved himself not only as one of the nation's top freshmen, but one of the most talented players in all of college basketball.

He became an all-American after averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds a game, dominating in a way few college players had the ability to.

Having had a chance to see him up close and personal when Duke played at Boston College this season, I can tell you his first step to the basket off the dribble is an absolute killer and he is as close as we've seen to Carmelo Anthony-like in terms of creating space to shoot since, well Carmelo Anthony.

And while the Eagles certainly weren't an elite opponent, Parker was killing teams such as North Carolina and Syracuse with the same moves.

The Parker-Anthony comparisons have some legitimacy, but he reminds me more of Paul Pierce.

Parker isn't considered very athletic and is known more as a scorer than a shooter. When you stand next to him, you come away surprised at how much bigger he is up close and personal, than what you were expecting.

Sounds a lot like the Truth, folks!

But those are big shoes to fill, obviously and would become even larger if he were to become a Celtic.

The biggest concern with Parker has to do with his ability to defend which I'm told is one of the more over-exaggerated alleged weaknesses to his game.

"That puts him in the same boat as what, 90 percent of the guys coming into the league?" said an NBA scout. "Kids coming from college don't know how to defend at this level because they don't know how much effort goes into being a decent defender because they never had to, really, at the college level."

Having seen countless players come into the league as "defensive liabilities," Parker's defense doesn't scare me.

It may not be great, but those who have scouted him dating back to his days in high school, have raved about his work ethic as being one of his strengths.

"He's the safest pick in this draft," said a different NBA scout. "There may be others with more potential, but if you're talking about a guy who can come in, help you from day one, Jabari's your guy."

It should also be noted that Parker is a Mormon, as is Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Parker has gone on record numerous times to state how important his faith is to him. You can bet that having the GM as a fellow Mormon would mean something to Parker.

Boston is expected to have one of the top picks in June's NBA draft and not surprisingly, they have seen plenty of the 6-foot-8 forward this season. The lottery to determine draft order is May 20.

They too have some concerns about how quickly he'll adjust to the NBA from a defensive standpoint, but you better believe if they land a top-3 pick he'll be on their short list as options to consider.

But is he the answer to the ills that affected the Celtics this season?

Probably not.

However, Boston's rebuilding isn't necessarily going to happen with one or two or even three moves.

And those moves may not all come together this summer, anyway.

Just as fans were spoiled by all the success Boston enjoyed when the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces in 2007, the expectation among Celtics Nation is that Ainge can pull off yet another blockbuster this summer, akin to the moves made that took the Celtics from being one of the league's worst teams in 2007, to an NBA champion a year later.

Boston has plenty of draft picks and trade exceptions that could put them back on the fast track to title town, very quickly.

Still, it takes at least two teams to swing deals in the NBA, so the Celtics will be at the mercy of what other teams might be interested in acquiring from Boston.

However, their own first-round pick could be a game-changer whether they keep it or package it with another player, picks, or a combination of some sorts for a bona fide superstar.

There is much to do and think about for the Celtics in the coming months leading up to June's NBA draft.

And you can count on Parker's presence in the draft as being one more option for the Celtics to consider.