The Milwaukee Bucks hope to have taken their first step back toward respectability Thursday night with the selection of Duke forward Jabari Parker with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft.
The Bucks took Parker shortly after the Cleveland Cavaliers kicked off the night’s proceedings at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center by choosing Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick.
Parker averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals in 30.7 minutes per game last season for the Blue Devils, shooting .473/.358/.748.
He led the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding and was a consensus All-American as a freshman at Duke.
The Chicago native worked out for the Bucks and indicated that he would like to play in Milwaukee.
“I’ve got some comfort level with them, especially with them just telling me ‘We want you.’ I didn’t get really any answers from the Cavs, so I’m just going with what I’m certain with,” Parker said the day before the draft. “I got just that answer, that fair assessment. They sat with me and said, ‘We’re going to go with you.’ ”
Parker should provide the Bucks with a legitimate scoring threat from Day 1 in the NBA, something the punchless Bucks desperately need after a season during which they won just 15 games and finished 28th in the NBA in scoring and 26th in field goal percentage.
There are questions about Parker’s defensive skills, but if he can provide some offensive firepower, the thinking may be that he can be taught defense.
The Bucks will be on the board later, with three picks currently in hand for the second round. Milwaukee has the No. 31, No. 36 and No. 48 selections.