As we begin to work our way through the rookies and their fantasy prospects, now it’s time to hit upon my favourite rookie in this class, Jabari Parker. I say favourite, meaning I think he’ll be the rookie of the year, the first rookie picked in fantasy drafts as well as the best fantasy rookie when all is said and done. To check out my piece on the number one pick, Cleveland’s Andrew Wiggins, click here.
Milwaukee wanted Parker for a long time and they ended up getting their man. Now, along with a new head coach, acquired in the oddest of circumstances, the Bucks have a lot to look forward to. Let’s take a look at the Bucks’ current projected starting lineup.
That sort of a starting lineup is extremely huge and extremely long. Whether it works in the league remains to be seen, but it seems to be the best option the Bucks could put out at the moment. Parker will also see some time at the four, pushing Henson to the bench and the Bucks potentially inserting O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Nate Wolters or Carlos Delfino into the starting lineup.
Regardless of where he lines up, he’s in the enviable position of being a rookie who is now the best player on his team immediately, so there’s no doubt coach Jason Kidd will give him as many minutes as he can handle.
Let’s wind things back a bit now and have a look at the numbers Parker was able to post in his one season at Duke.
Like Wiggins, who was picked before him, Parker averaged over a block, a steal and a three-pointer per game, as well as dominating the boards and scoring like an animal. And that is where his strength mainly lies. He is an elite offensive talent, who is a slight defensive liability. It is a known fact that rebounding from the NCAA level translates the best into the NBA ahead of all other stat categories, so he’ll be able to get the boards in the NBA as well.
The most common player Parker has been compared with is none other than Carmelo Anthony, one of the best scorers in the NBA currently, so when looking at projections for his rookie season, Carmelo’s past performances factored heavily.
One of the harder parts of the projection is working out the Jason Kidd effect. Kidd’s Nets played at one of the slowest paces in the league last season, but what is unknown is whether that was a product of his coaching or the fact that the team consisted almost entirely ‘seasoned veterans’. With such a young and athletic team in Milwaukee, could Kidd pump up the volume on his style of play. I’ve given Kidd the benefit of the doubt and attributed the snail’s like pace of his offense in part due to the age of it’s participants and I think he’ll play a little faster in his second stop on the coaching carousel.
While Parker will most likely be the best fantasy rookie, his stats won’t blow you away and he won’t finish in the top 30, most likely. Here are my projections for Parker.
Decent numbers, but not entirely spectacular and a large reason for that is the percentages. A lot of rookies struggle with their field goal shooting and I think Parker will be no exception. Coupled with his below average free throw shooting, he’ll be a handicap in those areas. Numbers like the ones above, put Parker right around pick 100, but if you want the upside of the rookie phenom, you’re are going to need to grab him a lot earlier. I’d be targeting him around pick 80, but I fear you’ll be a little late to the party. Save your pick and grab some other high upside guys and let others buy the rookie hype at the slightly inflated price.