The 2014 Summer League is in the books. General managers and scouts got their first look at the rookies and at up and developing prospects trying to make NBA rosters this fall. With a talented, deep draft class, we take a look at two prospects who are most ready to make an immediate impact on their new teams.
Jabari Parker- Milwaukee Bucks, SF/PF
After completing an individual workout for the Cleveland Cavaliers, reports surfaced that Parker tanked it in order to sway the Cavs in favor of selecting Andrew Wiggins instead, and he got his wish. He also went in to the workout weighing 255 pounds, 20 pounds heavier than his playing weight at Duke last season.
As the most NBA-ready prospect in this class, Parker brings his versatile skill set to the Bucks frontcourt with the ability to play either forward position. Even if he doesn’t start the season as a starter on opening night over Ersan Ilyasova or Khris Middleton, the expectation in Milwaukee is that he’ll take over at some point this season.
The Bucks have a young squad full of improving players, led by the 22-year-old Brandon Knight, who was the leading scorer and assist man last season. Parker should mesh well with the other young guys on the roster such as O.J. Mayo, Nate Wolters, John Henson and the rim protector Larry Sanders.
Considering the fact that Parker is not known for being a defensive stopper or showing an ability to defend the perimeter well, having Sanders backing him up will be key for team’s success on the defensive side of the floor.
Julius Randle- Los Angeles Lakers, PF
The Lakers drafted Randle with the thought process of playing him immediately, but then worked out a deal to bring back stretch 4 Ryan Kelly, adding Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer afterwards. Boozer is likely to be the starter day one, but Randle is no question the most versatile forward on the team.
His versatility will be of value for new coach Byron Scott, who will admire the rookie’s physicality and toughness on the interior.
Watching him in the summer league, Randle demonstrated his ability to bring the ball up the court and go coast to coast. He’s no LeBron James in that respect but he did showcase his vision to get the ball to the open man on the move.
He loves to attack the rim and he has a knack for being around the ball. The only thing he is really lacking is a consistent jumper from 15 to 20 feet.
Since Jeremy Lin has grown into a great facilitator orchestrating the pick and roll, an aggressive player like Randle rolling to the hoop will create opportunities for the Lakers offense. By the way, Randle’s also got Kobe Bryant who can teach him the nuances, technical skills and footwork required to become an elite back to the basket post player.