Jabari Parker is going to have an interesting role this coming year for Duke. He is going to be expected to pick up where Ryan Kelly left off, and maybe even more. He is only a freshman, but he is going to be asked to produce like a senior in his first year.
The Blue Devils lost a substantial amount from last year’s team and one of their main pieces was Ryan Kelly. Parker is going to have to fill in for Kelly, which means he is going to have to be able to go into the post as well as stretch the defense with his jumper. Kelly had a huge impact for the Blue Devils last year. Prior to his injury they did not lose a game. Looking at Parker’s skill set, he should fill in really well for the Devils this year.
Parker’s game is a lot like Kelly’s, except he isn’t quite as tall. His game is inside- outside and very similar to his predecessor. The one thing that Parker has that Kelly didn’t is his athleticism, which will be needed this year if they are going to make up for the lack of height on the team.
Looking closer at Parker’s defensive abilities, he has the length needed to contest any shot he needs to, and the foot speed to keep up with almost any position on the court. This will be important for them next year because they will be switching on defense quite a bit.
Parker should be able to contribute right away this year. His overall game is one that lets him go to his spots on the court and get the shot that he wants. He is longer than most players, so he can get his shot over most shorter and quicker guys. With the players that are his height, he is far more explosive.
He has good ball handling skills for a player his height and he understands the game really well. He has a great outside game that will only help with stretching the floor. He can push the ball when needed and will be a matchup nightmare for opponents next year, exactly the kind of player Coach Krzyzewski likes.
His talent level is among the best ever to come to Duke. He is very polished and years ahead of most players entering college. He can also dominate the game when he wants to, but sometimes doesn’t know when he should. Playing in college will help: defenses won’t be able to focus on him as much. He will be making the impact of Kelly and helping out with what Mason Plumlee left behind as well.
This coming year Parker will average more than twenty points, ten rebounds and five assists per game. He will pick up the slack left by Kelly and will have a bigger impact on the team this year. This is a lot to ask an incoming freshman, but with the hype being so high for him, it is what is expected and it is what he can accomplish. He and the team should have a great year and really surprise some people.
This should be a good year for Parker and the Blue Devils. He should show why so many people have him in the top five of the 2014 NBA draft, but hopefully he will decide to stay at Duke for another year or two. He is learning from one of the greatest coaches ever, so maybe he will stick around another year.