ESPN.com's Chad Ford released his first 2014 NBA Mock Draft and has the Boston Celtics selecting Duke small forward Jabari Parker with the fifth pick. As Ford said, "it's absurd to try and project players to teams when we haven't even played a game yet," but I think it is never too early to look ahead. After all, NBA teams have already begun scouting the draft.
Here is what Chad Ford had to say about his pick:
5. Jabari Parker -- Boston Celtics
COLLEGE: Duke -- AGE: 18 -- HT: 6-8 -- WT: 241 -- POS: SF
Analysis: Forget for a second that Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and Parker are both Mormon and Ainge has been an informal advisor to Parker in the past. He's actually a great fit for the Celtics. With a super-skilled frontcourt of Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, and an athletic backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, Parker fits great in between -- especially for Celtics fans who aren't sold on Jeff Green as the Celtics' future. Parker could be the second coming of Carmelo Anthony as a scorer, with an even better approach.
I would be absolutely ecstatic if the Celtics ended up selecting Parker. Of course, that would mean that this season is a disaster for the team, but I think acquiring a player like Parker would be worth it in the long run. In my opinion, he is currently the second best player in the draft, only behind Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins.
It might sound outrageous for ESPN to compare Jabari Parker to Carmelo Anthony, but I believe the comparison is accurate. Parker has a similar build to Melo and a very similar style of play. While Carmelo Anthony is mostly known for his ability to hit shots from anywhere on the court, he is also an extremely efficient player on the post. With a wide body and long arms, Parker scored at will on the post at Simeon Vocational High School. I expect him to continue to improve at Duke, and will eventually be a matchup nightmare for most small forwards in the NBA.
Parker is still in the process of improving his jump shot but in games I have seen him play, he clearly has already shown the tools needed to become a threat from mid-range and outside. When shooting off balance, I think Parker does a very good job of balancing in the air to take a better jumper. When spotting up, Parker has amazing form with no hitch in his delivery.
As Chad Ford said, Parker could be the next Carmelo "with an even better approach." From all accounts, Jabari is a very good person off the court and in the locker room. Parker comes from a very close Mormon family, and both his team and family values show on the court, where he hustles hard on defense, showing the potential to become a defensive stopper. Parker is also a willing passer despite having the ability to dominate each possession as a scorer.
Let's not get too excited just yet, though. The Boston Celtics have an 82-game season coming up. But it sure is fun to take a quick look at the draft, isn't it?