NBA Draft: Why the Milwaukee Bucks must pick Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker

The Bucks have the second pick in the NBA Draft, and they should pick the small forward from Duke, providing they get the opportunity.

The Milwaukee Bucks began the 2013-14 season with play-off aspirations, but ended it with a 15-67 record, the worst in franchise history.

With what looks to be yet another rebuilding season on the horizon, the Bucks simply cannot afford to miss in this year's draft. With doubts over Joel Embiid's health, and the athletic Andrew Wiggins a raw, unpolished prospect, Milwaukee should take Duke forward Jabari Parker if he is available.

Embiid undoutedly has the highest ceiling of any player in this year's draft, and will likely be picked first by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He shows the agility and blocking ability of a young Hakeem Olajuwon, and at 7ft he stands two inches taller.

However, if the stress fracture Embiid suffered in his back become a recurring problem, he will be a huge risk to take at the top of the draft. The shadow of 2007 top pick Greg Oden still hangs over any big man who suffers injuries coming out of college.

Wiggins, meanwhile, is the best athlete in the draft, with excellent foot speed and an incredible verticle leap. But his lack of ball skills and passive nature means there is a question mark over whether he will ever be a superstar in the NBA.

The only true can't-miss prospect this year is Parker. The All-American averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils last season, and played three positions, including centre.

Parker is the most versatile scorer coming into the draft since Kevin Durant – he can post up, beat defenders off the dribble and hit fadeaway jump shots, and will immediately add to the Bucks' anaemic offense. Milwaukee finished third-last in points per game last season, and 26th in field goal percentage.

If Embiid does go first, the Bucks will be in the enviable position of being able to choose between Parker and Wiggins. However, Milwaukee's roster is packed with athletes, and their last two first-round picks, John Henson and Giannis Antetokounmpo, fit the same bill as Wiggins – players with upside who need to develop their skills.

Parker may not have the potential to be a franchise-changing player. However, Wiggins' potential was certainly over-hyped at the start of the college season, and the likelihood is that both of these players become all stars.

If Embiid falls the Bucks will strongly consider grabbing him and hoping for the best. But should the big man go first, they must take Parker, as drafting Wiggins and seeing him never reach his potential would set the franchise back years.