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NBA Draft 2014: Valuing Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, and Joel Embiid

In this episode of our NBA Draft podcast series with Dean Demakis, we move on from Andrew Wiggins to discuss Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, and Joel Embiid.

Streeter Lecka

In part one of our 2014 NBA Draft discussion with Dean Demakis of we discussed the upside of Andrew Wiggins and the questions he has left unanswered heading into the draft. In part two, we moved on to cover three other premium prospects that have NBA fans salivating: Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, and Joel Embiid. Each member of that trio brings something different to the table, so the conversation pivots in plenty of interesting directions.

For Parker, it's a question of how to value his offense and deal with his defense. Is Parker perhaps being undersold a bit because he's shown such advanced offensive skill and half court polish at a young age? Because GMs tend to overvalue scoring skills on the open market in the NBA, does drafting Parker bring added value by exploiting the depressed rookie scale contract? What type of tweener is he -- a good mismatch threat, or a persistent defensive question mark? Parker may be the leader the Bucks are looking for, and Marcus Smart is another guy who fits in that category.

Smart hasn't shown the clear and consistent growth that he expected put on display in his sophomore season, but has he become another player with skills that may now be overlooked to a degree? There's unique value that comes with adding a fierce competitor who relishes his disruptive role on defense. Don't forget that point when it comes to evaluating Smart. He's not a perfect player, however. Can he shoot the ball well enough to get to the next level?

Finally, Joel Embiid is an excellent prospect that populates the top slot on the Big Boards at ESPN, Draft Express, and Dean's site. Although there's only a small chance that he could become the next Hakeem Olajuwon, the fact that he's on track to develop into a great big man should be enough for everyone to take notice. There's an honest intellectual debate to be had about Embiid reaching Olajuwon levels...think about that for a second. We don't know the true extent of his injuries, and we aren't keen on speculating in that regard, so we focus on his potential as a player.

Be sure to check out the articles that Dean has written on the players discussed in podcast, as his writing fills in the statistical details that are a bit tougher to communicate in audio form.

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