Bucks select Jabari Parker No. 2 overall
On Monday, the new ownership of the Milwaukee Bucks offered a forecast of what was to come when Marc Lasry said the No. 2 pick of Thursday's NBA Draft would be either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, depending what the Cleveland Cavaliers did at number one.
The Cavaliers took Wiggins and Lasry and co-owner Wes Edens celebrated in Brooklyn, ESPN's Jeff Goodman tweeting that they celebrated with high-fives.
There was a simple reason for that excitement:
"Tonight, we got better," Bucks general manager John Hammond said from the Cousins Center following the pick.
"He's wired differently," head coach Larry Drew said of Parker at the conclusion of the draft. "He's very driven. It will be nice to have a guy like Jabari here in the city of Milwaukee, a guy that will be able to bring some credibility back to this franchise. This kid has a chance to be really good."
In a conference call with local media at the Cousins Center Thursday night, Parker has no concerns about being called a franchise player.
"Mostly I'm prepared because I think my pride won't get in the way of what the team wants me to do," he said. "I want to fulfill my role and I want to do whatever it takes to win. 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 that's willing to win."
Parker, who turned 19 in March, played one year at Duke University and was a first team All-American, first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick and the ACC Rookie of the year after averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds.
"He's got a feel and a skill set that fairly refined for a person his age," said Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski, who coached Parker last year at Duke. "So, the things he can do right now on the basketball court I think translate at the NBA level, especially in terms of his ability to score the ball."
One of those skills, at least in Drew's eyes, will be seen late in games.
"I think we really addressed a need right away in getting a guy like Jabari; having a guy you can give the ball to in the fourth quarter, late in the game, a guy that can make shots, a guy that's a passer and do things that make other guys better," Drew said. "It is important to have a guy you can go to down the stretch."
Wojciechowski also stressed that Parker has potential, too – that his ceiling as yet to be reached.
"The thing I don't think that's talked about enough is I think he's going to get a lot better," he said. "And so he also has potential. He is, and I think he has big potential."
The Bucks clearly agreed.
"I'm not sure what his ceiling is," said Hammond, who believes Parker can play both forward positions. "When you start talking about those kind of comps, people they're kind of comparing him to, they're saying Paul Pierce, they're saying a 'Melo (Carmelo Anthony), they're saying a 'Big Dog' (Glenn Robinson), that's pretty tall compliment right there in itself. We hope he becomes those type players.
"I don't know what his ceiling is, but I truly do believe this, and I think we can trust this, whatever it is, he's going to achieve it. And I think it's pretty high.
In the run-up to the draft, it was reported that Parker preferred Milwaukee to Cleveland.
Once the pick was made, those reports proved true, which also played into the jubilation exhibited by the team's new owners in New York.
"The thing that excited us about Jabari was that factor of him saying look, this is where I want to be," Hammond said.
In the conference call, Parker said appreciated the fact that the Bucks reciprocated that interest and after telling him they'd select him at No. 2 if he was there, that they followed through on that promise.
"It means a lot because they took a chance on me," he said. "That's really humbling because they gave me the say so before, and I didn't get any conclusions from any other teams, but I'm just so glad, so blessed that they were a man of their words."
In his post-draft press conference a few hours earlier in New York, Parker had taken it a step further.
"I feel like I'm going to be able to grow with that organization, and I'm trying to be a throwback player, only stick with one team," he said. "This might bite me in the butt years from now, but right now I just want to stick with whoever's rolling with me."
The second round
The Bucks picked 19-year-old French forward Damien Inglis with the first selection of the second round at No. 31 overall. Inglis is 6-feet, 8-inches, and has been a professional for four seasons in Europe. He averaged 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for Roanne in France's top league in Pro A.
LSU forward Johnny O'Bryant was picked No. 36 overall after a junior season in which he averaged 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He was in the last pre-draft workout the team conducted before the draft.
"I had a pretty good workout," O'Bryant said. "They told me they were interested. They told me that if I was there on the board they might take me but I didn't know for sure."
The Bucks selected swingman Lamar Patterson at No. 48 overall, though he was reportedly dealt to Atlanta.
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