By RICK SOLEM
The Milwaukee Bucks got their man, Jabari Parker.
The 6-foot-8 forward has been touted the most NBA-ready player in the draft. The problem with the Bucks, they’re not NBA-ready.
While other struggling teams have put together long-term strategies to improve, the Bucks felt the need to get the player who wanted to play here, because he is from Chicago. Great reason. They also like the idea he could step in and score immediately for a Bucks team that struggled in that department last season.
OK, but he also can’t play defense. And there’s no guarantee he can score. Remember the 4-for-14, 14-point NCAA tournament loss to Mercer? … Mercer.
Parker may struggle from beyond the arc (35.8 percent from the college 3-point line), and from the inside, as well, against NBA defenses. Even if he hit 35.8 from 3 in the NBA, that would have rank him 91st in the league last year.
Parker, a power forward who is too short, or a small forward who is too fat (weighing in at his Cleveland workout at 255 pounds – listed at 235 on the Bucks’ website).
He’s been compared to Carmelo Anthony. You know, the shoot-first, pass-never small forward who may as well have four centers on his team ready to rebound his misses.
The Bucks could have traded the pick to Orlando for the Nos. 4 and 12 picks, along with Arron Afflalo, who was traded for next to nothing to Denver.
Had that scenario played out, Milwaukee could have had 6-foot-6 Australian point guard Dante Exum. He would have been a great PG/SG combo with Brandon Knight. Milwaukee could have also gotten any number of other players, including Michigan State’s Gary Harris or maybe point guard Elfrid Payton, who was drafted 10th, then traded to Philadelphia for No. 12 pick, Dario Saric.
Instead, the Bucks got their man. The not-quite a SF, not quite a PF. Doesn’t Milwaukee have a SF of the future in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a stable of solid power forwards in Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson?
Parker, the guy who can come in and chuck on a team that apparently needs a chucker. Maybe he’ll turn out, but at this point, the Bucks could have used more assets, not an “NBA-ready” scorer, who can’t play defense. Last time I checked, defense was still a thing.
As for the other picks by Milwaukee, here’s a look (the Bucks did trade No. 48 pick Lamar Patterson out of Pitt to Atlanta for a future second-rounder) …
No. 31 - Damien Inglis, French Guiana
SF: 19 years old, 6-foot-9, 240 pounds
He’s long, a 7-foot-3 wingspan. Great athlete that can handle the ball. Almost plays like a point-forward the way he passes, drives. Can’t shoot very well. Form isn’t pretty. Could become a defensive commodity with the ability to guard three, possibly four positions.
Played just 15 minutes in 27 games with Roanne, in the French Pro A League. In those abbreviated minutes, he averaged 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds.
No. 36 - Johnny O’Bryant, LSU
PF: 21 years old, 6-foot-9, 256 pounds
A polished low-post threat that can finish with both hands, but can also step out and hit the mid-range shot or drive to the basket. Despite his skills with the ball, he lost it a lot. Averaged 3.2 turnovers, including 10 in one game last season. Was 280 pounds as a freshman, but trimmed down by his junior year – last season - and averaged 15.4 points, 7.7 rebounds.
Questionable whether he’ll make the team with power forwards Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson and newcomer Jabari Parker vying for minutes, though the Bucks have been rumored to be trading both players.