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2014 NBA Draft: Jabari Parker Declares, Finally

Two more declare, plenty more to go.

Al Bello

With the Sixers arduous 2013-14 campaign finally complete, there are no more possible wins for Sam Hinkie to fret over. His team of misfits did what they could to secure their spot at the top of the lottery; he can only hope the top prospects will do the same.


Earlier: Duke's Jabari Parker is the biggest name yet to declare, and he's made it clear how torn he is between turning pro or heading back to Durham for a sophomore season. Multiple reports said that after meeting with Coach K on Tuesday, the Chicago native would make a decision the following day. Only issue is, he ain't ready to share his choice publicly. If the Sixers by some ungodly measure are screwed by the lottery and cannot select draft Andrew Wiggins, then having Parker on the board would be a real nice safety blanket. If he returns to school, all sorts of draft hell might break lose.

While Jabari is picking petals off flowers to help him make a decision, two semi-big names have opted to go pro: Baylor's Isaiah Austin and Arizona's Nick Johnson.

Austin is a fantastic story, a gifted 7-footer who lost one of his eyes in an accident. In his sophomore season at Baylor he averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds but shot just 44.7% from the floor. A real solid season from him would have likely garnered interest from lottery teams, but he seems like a fringe first rounder at this point. DraftExpress slots him at number 38 in their 2014 mock draft. The potential is certainly there in Austin, who could be a Hawesian type player at the pro level.

Johnson spent three years at the University of Arizona and a catalyst in their offense. A dynamic scorer despite his lack of height, he averaged 16.3 points a game and shot 36.7% from beyond the arc. DX has him 48th this year, which I really do not agree with. I understand that being 6'2" isn't optimal, but his height disadvantage has had no bearing on his effectiveness. He is a guy I look at as a possible steal in the second round. Sixers own all of the picks there, might as well use one on him.

Meanwhile, his former teammate at Arizona, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, has opted to return to school. Likely a late first rounder this year, Hollis-Jefferson has a real good chance to be a lottery pick following a good sophomore season. He was tremendous in the absence of Brandon Ashley, and is likely to step into the starting role for the Wildcats next season. He'll be joined by center Kaleb Tarczewski, who will stay for his junior year in Tucson.

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