Sometimes stats don't tell the whole story. There are ways to impact the game outside of the box score, and times where players fill up the stat sheet without truly impacting the game.
But unfortunately for Jabari Parker -- today the stat line told the whole, uninspiring story.
Parker was dreadful as third-seeded Duke was knocked out by 14-seed Mercer (honest question: could you have told me what state Mercer is from before this game?), scoring 14 points on 4-14 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds, and turning the ball over four times. Even worse, his defense was terrible as he was part of a Duke front line that got abused by Mercer, allowing 65% shooting on two-pointers and sending the Bears to the foul line 28 times.
Now the likely Freshman of the Year's tournament run is over before it even started, and his college career is likely done too.
With that in mind, the questions being discussed all over twitter seem to be: was Parker exposed today? And will his terrible performance impact his draft stock?
The short-answers? No and maybe (slightly).
Listen, Parker is a poor defensive player who got into foul trouble at times this season. He also happened to have a poor shooting afternoon, something that happens to everybody (and something he has proven happens to him less than most). The type of player he was coming in to today (dynamic offensively, great rebounder, poor on the defensive end) is exactly the type of player that he is after today's disaster. While I'm sure NBA teams are disappointed that they won't get another few games to scout Parker, I'd be shocked if their opinion of his game changed all that much.
As for his draft stock -- he's still a top three pick barring something really unforeseen (maybe a Sullinger-esque back injury being discovered), but it's definitely possible that his performance today could drop him below Andrew Wiggins and/or Joel Embiid for some teams. We keep hearing how close these guys are on team's boards, and with such a small gap between the players, one terrible game could cause Parker to slide a spot or two, especially if Kansas goes on a deep run.
I get the feeling that Wiggins' play of late had already lifted him above Parker on most boards (including both ESPN and Draft Express), but certainly Parker could have helped his cause with a phenomenal performance in the tournament. But that did not happen.
As much as I love upsets, as a Celtics' fan and someone with a close eye on this year's draft -- losing Parker (and possibly Marcus Smart) in round one sucks. There are very few fun aspects of having a season like the Celtics are having, but getting a chance to scout the best college players is one of them. And now part of that fun is over very, very quickly.
What do you guys think -- what's the order you take Wiggins/Parker/Embiid (or would you have Exum in there over one of them)? Mine (which admittedly has changed a few times) is currently, 1. Wiggins, 2. Parker, 3. Embiid (legit concerns over that back). Leave yours in the comments.
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Michael Dyer 3/21/2014 06:44:00 PM Tweet