We are still waiting on official word from Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood on their plans to either enter the NBA Draft or return to Duke for another season. We wanted to look at the best possible destinations should they decide to turn pro, and Andre Dawkins as well since he has graduated from Duke.
DraftExpress.com currently has him going #3 overall to the Orlando Magic. While Parker would immediately start for the Magic, he would be going to a team that has a quite a few shoot first players. Parker would struggle as he may feel the need to shoot every time he has the ball for fear of not getting another touch for several minutes. Ideally, there are 3 teams that would best suit Parker should they land in a position to draft him:
- Boston Celtics
The Celtics currently Jeff Green at the Small Forward position who they are paying a hefty sum for ($8.7 mil per year for the next year years). There have been rumors they would like to trade him which would open the door right away for Parker to start. There would be talent already around him with Rajon Rondo at the Point Guard Position, Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger at the Power Forward spot, as well as Kelly Olynyk and Kris Humphries manning the middle. Without a solid Shooting Guard, they could go big and have a starting five of Rondo, Parker, Sullinger, Bass, and Olynyk. That would be a lineup that could challenge for a playoff spot next season. Oh, and don’t forget the Celtics have a pretty good coach in Brad Stevens.
- Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are a team that could use a nice boost at the Small Forward position considering their current SFs are Xavier Henry (who played well at times this season), Wesley Johnson, and Nick Young. Parker would fit in nicely next to a returning Kobe Bryant and dare I say it Kendall Marshall at the Point Guard position. If the Lakers trade Pau Gasol for a true back-to-basket defender, he, along with Jordan Hill, should help to erase any mistakes Parker may make on defense, especially early on in his rookie season. Like the Celtics, this would be a team that could challenge for a playoff spot next season.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James. Kyrie Irving. Jabari Parker. It really wouldn’t be fair if the Cavaliers somehow landed Jabari Parker. The Cavaliers have several Small Forwards already on their roster in last year’s #1 pick Anthony Bennett (who putting it nicely has been a bust), Luol Deng, and others. Deng is unlikely to re-sign in Cleveland, and if the right offer came along, I bet they wouldn’t hesitate to trade Bennett. Even if they kept Bennett, he could come off the bench while Parker starts. The Cavaliers will have to figure out what to do with the backcourt of Irving and Waiters, but Waiters could be another trade candidate if Cleveland could find someone better to fit into their system. Irving and Waiters have always been an odd pairing, especially with Waiters at time playing PG while Kyrie is on the floor. Again, a move here or there, in addition to adding Parker, puts the Cavaliers in the hunt for a playoff spot (they are only four games behind the 8th and final spot in the East at the time of writing this).
Currently slated at #24 to the Bobcats/Hornets, Charlotte would be the perfect place for Rodney Hood. The Bobcats need scoring on the perimeter. For some reason, Gerald Henderson hasn’t developed into that consistent outside threat. He’s always been a slasher, but the hope was there he would elevate his game to being more than that. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a good defender, but like Henderson, he’s more of a slasher than a shooter. The Bobcats do have Jeffery Taylor coming back from a season ending Achille’s injury but he will still need time to get his legs back underneath him. Hood would provide the outside shooting, along with a mid-range game, that would greatly benefit the Bobcats who are only averaging 96.7 ppg (24th in the NBA).
Hood will need to add some muscle, especially if he were to play the Small Forward position, but he could be slide into a Shooting Guard role very nicely. Chicago is one team that comes to mind who could use Hood along with Houston, Miami, and San Antonio. While everyone wants to be the #1 pick, going later in the first round to a playoff team has its benefits. Hood would be able to go in and contribute right away without having the pressure of saving a franchise on his shoulders. He would gain valuable experience from veterans who have been apart of winning and winning championships. He would be in line to take over should a superstar leave or retire (Dwayne Wade, Manu Ginobli for example).
DraftExpress does not have Dawkins listed among those being drafted in the first or second round. Before the season, he was mentioned as a second round pick by various Mock Drafts. Due to an inconsistent, and some would say, poor senior season, he has slipped out of the second round. There is still a good chance he could be drafted by a team like Philadelphia (with one of their 50 second round picks), or other teams that need help with outside shooting. Andre proved this season he could do more than just hit the three as he worked more and more on driving the ball to the basket and getting fouled. Dawkins has the size and strength to fill a Ray Allen type role on a team. Even if teams pass on drafting him in the second round (because they like to waste picks on international players, most will never come to the NBA), he will get Summer League and Camp invites. The Bobcats could very well be one of those teams interested in his services.