Duke basketball: Blue Devil faces dicey future in NBA

Duke basketball alum Jabari Parker (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball alum Jabari Parker (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball product Jabari Parker is running out of chances in the NBA.

Five franchises in seven years have now, in one way or another, parted ways with Jabari Parker. That’s not exactly indicative of ingratiating efforts by the No. 2 overall draft pick from 2014. Nope, the former Duke basketball sensation is — at least for the moment — without an NBA home after encountering a “pink slip” from the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.

Remember, as a five-star prospect back in 2012, Parker landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the following unfair billing above his name: “The best high school basketball player since LeBron James.”

Then, as a one-and-done Blue Devil following his stellar prep campaign, the Chicago native often wowed crowds, to the tune of 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, ultimately earning recognition as the best freshman in both the ACC and entire country.

Skipping ahead to the Duke basketball alum’s latest bad news

In what should be the prime years for the NBA Blue Devil, there’s now chatter all over social media suggesting Jabari Parker may have a tough time landing anywhere else in the league.

Here is how ESPN’s Dave McMenamin summed up the situation for the 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward in light of the Sacramento Kings saying goodbye:

“The decision puts the NBA career of Parker…in peril.”

With two past surgeries on his left ACL and a reputation for taking plays off when in action — particularly on the defensive end of the floor  — the “superstar potential” label appears to have almost completely faded when it comes to Parker’s allure in the eyes of decision-makers across the NBA.

Sure, he has managed career averages of 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 49.3 percent from the field. On the other hand, whether with the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, or Sacramento Kings, Parker’s outings have been noticeably spotty along the way.

He had already failed to play in at least 40 games in four different regular seasons. Now, with only three appearances under his belt thus far in 2020-21 and the season already several games past the halfway point, it’s a mathematical certainty that Parker will fall short of that mark again this year, regardless of what happens to him from here.

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Unfortunately, this time, it’s safe to say that Jabari Parker should feel extremely lucky if his phone rings at all.