NEW YORK — The Cavaliers are reportedly torn between selecting Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker with the number one overall pick in this Thursday’s NBA Draft. But Parker himself believes their decision may have already been made.
Speaking to reporters at the pre-draft media availability in Manhattan on Wednesday, Parker made it very clear that if Cleveland goes in another direction, he fully expects to be selected by the Bucks with the second pick based on what he was told when meeting with the team during the workout process.
“Yeah, I think so,” Parker said, when asked if he expected to be picked by the Bucks. “Because I had some comfort level with them, especially with them telling me that ‘we want you.’ I didn’t really get any answers from the Cavs, so I’m just going with what I’m certain with.”
Parker was pressed on the topic, and while he fell short of using the word “promise,” it was evident that he feels he won’t be falling below the second pick no matter what Cleveland decides.
“Like I said, I got that answer,” he said. “I got that fair assessment. They sat with me and said ‘oh, we’re going to go with you.’ I didn’t get that with the Cavs.”
Cleveland didn’t come out and tell Parker they wouldn’t select him, however, which leaves the door open at least slightly.
“They just didn’t make commitments,” Parker said of his conversations with the Cavaliers. “I think that they’re playing the safe side of things. They don’t want to say they’re all in too early, because they hold a high pick and have plenty of opportunities with other free agents. So you never know, it [could be] a really surprising draft.”
It was rumored following his workout with the Cavaliers that Parker tanked it, because he preferred to end up in Milwaukee instead. But he firmly and professionally denied that allegation on Wednesday.
“I think I have too much pride to just waste other people’s time,” Parker said. “I come from Duke, but most importantly, I come from a family with good values, and I don’t have time to just waste other people’s opportunities and the chances that I have in front of me. There’s going to be a lot of speculation and a lot of negativity, but I would be glad to look that person in the eye who wrote that stuff. And they can give me their assumptions.”
Parker was asked if he would be opposed to going to Cleveland, given the way his workout went and the way the organization was relatively non-communicative with him at the time.
“It would be a great opportunity too,” he said. “Anywhere that I’m going, I’m going there for a reason. If they pick me, I’m going to go on that stage, accept that hat and that opportunity.”
Parker, like the rest of the players projected to be lottery selections, seemed to be appreciative of and excited by the opportunity before him.
“Being a top draft pick is something that will go down in history,” he said. “One, two, three, four, five, even in the lottery. I think a lot of the guys — it’s safe to say that we’re glad to be in this position.”