The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t received much good news in 2014, but today’s announcement by Jabari Parker may signal that their fortunes are changing. The Duke University basketball star has announced that he will be entering the 2014 NBA Draft.
In case you haven’t been paying attention to the Sixers’ season (and considering how its gone, I can’t really blame you), they basically destroyed their team in hope of losing as many games as possible so that they could receive one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. Theoretically, this year’s draft will be one of the most loaded in history. Parker, along with Kansas University players Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, are all projected as potential franchise-level players.
In his only collegiate season, Parker was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team and received All-American honors from the Associated Press. Playing mostly at small forward, he averaged over 19 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Even though the Sixers were astoundingly prolific in their losing, it doesn’t mean they are assured of the top pick in the draft. Thanks to the draft lottery (which was created to help prevent teams from voluntarily becoming horrible. I think the concept could use some tweaking), the Sixers will rely on some luck to receive the first pick. And amazingly, they don’t even have the best odds at it.
Despite their ineptitude, the Sixers somehow avoided having the worst record in the NBA; that “honor” went to the Milwaukee Bucks. Like most people, I didn’t pay any attention to the Bucks this season, but apparently they were very consistent in their losing. While the Sixers were busy playing above expectations in the first month of the season, the Bucks were quietly losing almost all of their games. It provided them enough of a cushion against the extraordinary amount of losing the Sixers have done since the trade deadline.
Depending on how the ping pong balls bounce, the Sixers could potentially draft anywhere from first to fifth.
It has been rumored that the Sixers covet Wiggins more than Parker. So then why is it so beneficial to have Parker declare himself eligible?
Just because they prefer Wiggins, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. If any team drafts ahead of them, there’s a chance that they may like Parker better. The more top players there are to choose from, the better the chance that the Sixers end up with the guy they want. And even if they can’t take Wiggins, the Sixers would likely be very happy with Parker as a consolation prize.
Today’s declaration was a small bit of good news for the 76ers. Now we just have to hope that they get a little more when the draft lottery comes along.