Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
For years, this has been the life of Jabari Parker. He plays well and people watch in awe. So for him, having scouts from just about every NBA team on Saturday night (22 was the count before tip-off) was just another day on the job.
And did he ever put in work as Duke pulled away in the second half for an 89-68 win over Boston College. Parker led all players with 29 points and 16 rebounds – both career highs. He made lay-ups; powerful dunks off ultra-quick drop-steps into the paint; he swatted shots.
Parker was anything and everything Duke needed on Saturday.
“Jabari was a monster today,” said Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “With the amount of rebounds and points … it could have been a 35, 36-point night.”
Boston College head coach Steve Donahue had similar praise for the Blue Devils standout forward.
“He has an extra pop; a quickness you don’t see in this league,” Donahue said.
And it’s that kind of ability that has NBA executives checking out as often as they can the freshman phenom who is projected to be among the top three players selected in June’s NBA draft. You can include Boston among the teams that are not just intrigued by his scoring prowess, but may be in position to draft the 6-foot-8 star if he does as expected and enter the NBA draft this year. Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, was among a large contingent of Celtics front-office officials in attendance at the game that wouldn’t mind having an opportunity to bring Parker’s talents to the TD Garden which is just 6.7 miles away from the Conte Forum.
This is the whole point of it all, right? This is why we saw two Celtics legends get traded, right? This is why Doc Rivers gets “traded” isn’t it? This is why there’s all this talk of tanking, enjoying the process… the journey, correct? This is why the rebuild was expedited for THIS season, right? Ok maybe Duke’s Jabari Parker isn’t the ONLY reason why but man oh man it would be great if a lot of this leads to Parker in green.
Think about how that name would just roll off of Bostonian tongues everywhere. “Hey kid, did ya see Jahhhbahhree Paahhhkahh’s game last night?” Maybe even Parker himself sensed it a bit last night and played that well as a personal showcase for Danny Ainge, Mike Zarren and the tons of hopeful C’s fans in attendance and watching on TV. Is he the next LeBron or Durant? Let’s not get crazy but having him here would certainly make this team better immediately. Would it be the nuclear impact that the KG/Ray trades brought in 2007? No, not even close.
But what it would do is help put the C’s back on the NBA map both locally and nationally. Ainge is smart and knows exactly what’s at hand here. While it’s nice to see the C’s rack up some wins with this current scrappy bunch, just imagine how much better it would be if they were able to draft Parker (or one of these potentially great players in college) and provide the foundation for a much longer run than the brief, yet incredible run that the P/KG Era brought?
It’s more likely than not that Parker’s career best performance was simply happenstance here in Boston. But isn’t it much more fun to think it was his way of showing Ainge and the C’s that he wants to be here? Hey we can all dream right? In the meantime it’s all we can do while believing in the front office and enjoying “the process.” Parker (like all of these college guys) likely is not the savior that LeBron, Duncan or Durant was but man would he be a fantastic foundation piece.
Page 2: Kelly Olynwitzski
Let’s play everyone’s favorite game: Whose Stat Line is it Anyway?
Player A: 8.2 pts, 3.4 reb, 20.4 mpg, 40.5 FG%, 20.6 3PT%, 12.8 PER
Player B: 6.5 pts, 4.3 reb, 18.1 mpg, 42.3 FG%, 30.8 3PT%, 12.3 PER
Hint: Both are rookie stat lines, 15 years apart. You have 30 seconds, good luck.
[Jeopardy theme music]
Player A is Dirk Nowitzki’s rookie line in 47 games for the Dallas Mavericks during the 1998-99 campaign. Player B is Kelly Olynyk’s stat line through 41 games this season for the Boston Celtics.
Now, let’s be explicitly clear here: We are NOT suggesting that Olynyk is going to be an 11-time All-Star or league and Finals MVP who spends his entire career in one jersey. But consider this exercise a friendly reminder that it takes a little time for every rookie to find his place in the NBA.
ESPN Boston – Kelly Olynyk isn’t Dirk Nowitzki, but…
Quite the fascinating line by line comparison. I do recall Dirk’s rookie year, and him getting blasted around the league for being a bust (including a horrific showing in the 3-PT contest) so I see where Forsberg is going here. Olynyk also drew comparisons to Dirk during his fantastic summer league showing in Orlando. In a perfect world, he’d turn out to be that great. It’s highly unlikely to happen but even if he’s half the player then that would be huge for the Celtics. Captain Obvious (me, of course) will end it on that note.
The rest of the links:
Worcester Telegram – The state of basketball talent is slim in Massachusetts