How the Sixers Bet Big on Jabari Parker

The Philadelphia 76ers made a huge move at the NBA draft last week when they selected Virginia forward Jabari Parker with the number 1 overall pick. The team passed on potential surefire Hall of Famers like Andrew Luck and Joakim Noah for the chance to select the 18-year-old phenom. It was the kind of move that makes top-tier sports teams. Now, the question is: “Will this translate to wins and excitement on the court?” Keep reading.

Why Should You Care About The 76ers?

The 76ers are one of the marquee franchises in the NBA. They have been a consistent contender throughout the years, making the playoffs every year since 2001. They were even in the Eastern Conference finals last year. Despite their frequent appearances in the playoffs, the team has a shockingly poor winning percentage of 382-852. That’s an unfathomable.284 winning percentage!

The numbers don’t lie, either. Despite their sterling reputation as one of the greatest franchise in NBA history, the 76ers have only won 382 games since moving to the Philadelphia in 1960. Furthermore, the team hasn’t won more than 40 games in a season since 2005. If that pattern continues, the Sixers could be the first expansion team born out of the modern NBA era to miss the playoffs. (Check out our interactive stats tool to see how your team measures up against the rest of the NBA.)

While the 76ers haven’t been able to turn things around quite yet, it’s never been more evident that they’re committed to doing so. Before the draft, GM Sam Hinkie stated that, “Our goal is to bring wins and excitement to the Philadelphia 76ers, and we feel that Jabari Parker can help us do that.”

Hinkie also went on to say that he would “enthusiastically” sell the idea of building a winner. That’s a pretty bold statement considering that, as mentioned, the Sixers have missed the playoffs for the last six seasons. Moreover, they haven’t made it to the postseason since 2012. So even if they do end up winning more games than you’d expect for a team with their won losses record, you can bet that it will be a cold day in Philadelphia before they know it.

What Does Jabari Parker Have?

When you strip all the noise surrounding the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft (aside from the fact that it was the Philadelphia 76ers), you’re left with a solid young player with all the makings for a franchise star. Let’s take a quick look at the numbers and see what the hype is all about.

First of all, let’s not kid ourselves about this kid’s stats. Despite the fact that he played just 27 minutes per game, he managed to put up 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.3 steals (per 36 minutes). If those numbers remain relatively consistent over the course of a full season, he’ll be in for a stat line to remember. That’s especially impressive since he didn’t play in a single conference during his college career. (He played in the ACC for Virginia, but that was it. The kid never even played one game in the Big East.)

The 76ers clearly see something special in Parker. After all, they went above and beyond the draft stage and chose to make him their number 1 overall pick. This was a huge risk and a testament to just how much they believe in Parker’s infinite potential. Now that’s scary.

Why Are The 76ers Interested In Jabari Parker?

Apart from the sheer awesomeness that is Parker, there are a couple reasons why the 76ers are interested in the forward. First, they desperately need to get back to the postseason, if not next year then eventually. The team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012, and that was with Joel Embiid, a future Hall of Famer in his own right, manning the middle. The 76ers couldn’t score enough inside the paint to keep pace with the best of the best, who destroyed them in the post. That’s a big reason behind their poor track record. (Check out our interactive stats tool to see how your team measures up against the rest of the NBA.)

If the 76ers want to get back to the postseason, they need a franchise player. (And they need to start winning now, not later.) If Parker fulfills the potential that many believe he has, he’ll be that franchise player. He could average 18-19 points, 5-6 rebounds, and 4-5 steals per game and take his team to the next level. (Heck, the talent is there for him to even average 20-21 points and 6-7 rebounds per game.)

Parker is an incredible talent who happens to be on the cusp of great things. The odds are definitely in his favor. The NBA draft is all about odds, isn’t it?