With Embiid hurt, reports say that Jabari Parker may be the first pick in the NBA Draft, which would put him in good company. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cavaliers Leaning Toward Duke's Jabari Parker


Ken Burger of CBSSports.com has reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers are leaning toward making Jabari Parker the first pick in Thursday’s draft. This is assuming that the Cavs are scared off of Joel Embiid due to his new foot injury. Foot injuries and big men do not mix, so Embiid will likely fall. No one knows how far.


If Cleveland does take Parker, then they will pair him with former Duke one-and-done alumnus Kyrie Irving. That means that of the potentially eight players from the Big Four (North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Duke) that have been taken No. 1, the Cavs will have two at the same time. If they sign Elton Brand in free agency (possible but not likely), then they could have three. Also currently active is Tim Duncan.


What do these past No.1s say about Parker’s potential success in the league? Besides Irving, Brand, and Duncan that group includes Art Heyman, David Thompson, James Worthy, and Brad Daugherty. It’s hard to think of better company to keep. Thompson and Worthy are Hall of Famers, while Tim Duncan is a first ballot guy whenever he becomes eligible. Daugherty, Brand, and Irving have all appeared on All-Star teams.

Of former 1 picks from the North Carolina Big Four, Jabari Parker looks most like James Worthy. Could he and Kyrie form a deadly duo like this one? Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Parker is a small forward at heart, but will likely serve some time at the big forward in small lineups.

Each of his predecessors have a different story to tell, though some will be more relevant than others. Looking at Parker’s body and skill set, it would seem that he would learn the most from studying the game of James Worthy.

The things Parker will have to do for the Cavs would not be dissimilar to what Worthy did for the Lakers. Irving and Parker have the potential to become a lethal duo even if Kyrie is more Isiah Thomas than he is Magic Johnson.

Jabari Parker, in the end, will have to be Jabari Parker. He won’t be any of those other guys for better or worse. If the past is any indication, being the #1 pick from a Big Four school is a great way to start.

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Duke Blue Devils Jabari Parker NBA Draft