After the Milwaukee Bucks selected Jabari Parker with the #2 pick in the NBA Draft, John Hammond, Larry Drew, and Parker all took their turns addressing the media. We noted earlier how excited they were when talking about Parker at the Public Market. But they had great things to say after the pick itself.
We’ve got the highlights:
Hammond, on the selection at #2:
To me the best way to sum it up into a sentence is – tonight we got better. It’s a great feeling to be sitting here and knowing that we have a player and a person like Jabari Parker that’s coming in to this organization and what we think he can do for us – short term, long term, hopefully have a very long, productive career here
On Parker’s positional fit:
I just think he’s one of those players that is a matchup problem. He can play two positions offensively – he can play the small forward position because he can put the ball on the floor, he can create a shot for himself. He can also go into the post and play with his back to the basket. So I think he’s one of those guys if you put a bigger guy on him he can take him out on the floor and score on the perimeter – if he has a small guy he can go inside and score against him.
On Parker off the court:
I think the off-court part is going to be easy for him. He’s just going to be himself. He’s really sincere, an extremely bright kid… I can tell you that he’s a very, very special person as well a special player. I think he’s someone that our community, this fan base, those of you that are going to work with him [in the media] are going to enjoy very much.
On Parker’s defensive potential:
I always look at it like this: if a guy knows how to play on the offensive end, he knows how to play on the defensive end too. He’ll figure it out, it won’t take him very long. You look at Duke this year, and the way they had to play Jabari, he played a lot of center for them and he was guarding people around the basket. I think he’s got the ability to do that because of his size but he also – he’s a big guy but he’s got great feet, very quick feet, very fast feet for a guy that size and that’s what makes him very effective.
On playing Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo together:
I think they go very well together… A guy like Giannis, he wants to be a distributor. He isn’t looking to score, and he’s going to keep getting better and better each passing day. And he can score the ball. But he’s very happy to give the ball up and if Jabari’s in the post and he wants the ball, Giannis will drop it in to him very willingly.
On managing expectations for the young players:
I think we have to be careful throughout this whole process that we keep the expectations where they need to be, not put too much pressure on Giannis at 19 years old, even with a full year of NBA experience. And it’s the same thing with Jabari. We guard him and protect him with regards to expectations. But he wants to be great, and I think Giannis has that same mentality. Hopefully those guys can learn to play with each other, love each other, and have a great career together.
After the draft, Larry Drew also talked about what he sees in Parker:
Watching him go through his workout, I got a whole new appreciation for how hard the kid works and why he’s in the position that he’s in. He’s really driven. He wants to be the best, he works to be the best. When you sit and have conversation with him, you can see why he’s as good as he is. He’s wired differently, he’s really driven.
On having both Parker and Antetokounmpo playing together:
Both guys are tremendously versatile. People are asking me all the time, what do I think Jabari is. I think he’s a 4 who will be able to play some 3. I think he wants to be able to play some 3. I’ve said it before about Giannis, I think he’s a point forward… he can play some 2, some 3. I think he’s grown a couple of inches, so he can even play some 4. Having both guys with that size, that versatility, we’ll be able to do some things a little differently.
On managing expectations for Parker early in his career:
He’s going to put a lot of expectations on himself, first of all… As a coach, I think the thing we just remind him of is that all we expect is for him to come out and give 110%.There are going to be some peaks and some valleys in his rookie year, and in his career. You have to expect it, and to deal with it. And it’s my job as a coach to remind him of that.
On Parker’s defensive potential:
Well, I think that’s where he’ll probably be challenged the most… As a coach, that will be an area where I challenge him to be better. There are some things he has to learn about playing in the NBA. He’s going to be playing against a different caliber of players, guys that are just as big, just as strong, just as athletic. But a lot of defense is effort. And not saying that he’s not a guy that puts forth the effort, but he’s going to have to learn to come night in and night out with a defensive mindset, a defensive presence.
On the Bucks’ rebuilding process:
[We’re] very, very excited about what has happened today and these other young players that we drafted. These are guys that we feel can come in and help this team get on track. We’re going through a rebuilding process and there are some steps that we have to take going through that process. We feel that today we’ve taken the first step… As I’ve said before, we understand this whole process of rebuilding. We made some selections today which we feel that we made the first step.
Shortly after Hammond spoke, Parker phoned in from New York.He spoke about how being selected by the Bucks impacts him:
It means a lot to me because they took the chance on me, and that’s really humbling. They gave me the say so right before. I didn’t get any conclusions from any other teams. But I’m just so glad and so blessed that they were a man of their word.
And being prepared to come to the team:
Mostly I’m prepared because I think my pride won’t get away from what the team wants me to do. I want to fulfill my role, and I want to do whatever it takes to win. I don’t think I’ll be the face of the program, I just want to be somebody plays along good guys and does what it takes to win.
On playing together with Giannis:
I feel really good being able to play around good talent and knowing there’s a guy that’s a year older than me and we have a chance to grow and improve each other’s game. You know, he’s my vet and I’m his rook, so I want to humble myself so I can learn from him.
On who he is as a person:
My character is everything. Because it’s parallel to the love that I have for my Savior and the love I have for my parents. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person that I am. I just want to sustain that character that I was raised with.
Who he models his game after:
I think it’s modeled after a couple of people. From what they say, they like the comparison to Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony. But for myself, I like to compare myself to more than one position. I want to take from everybody’s games.
On new Marquette (and former Duke assistant) coach Steve Wojciechowski:
It says a lot having somebody that’s close to the Duke family, somebody that can check on me. I’ve known Wojo for a very long time and he’s a great guy and I respect him. I look forward to being a part of the organization with Marquette because I’m a Blue Devil and we try to help each other.
On coming to an “unattractive” NBA destination like Milwaukee:
I think that’s up to the player to counter that saying. As long as you do your job, that creates a lot of attraction. So I don’t mind being with whoever chose me. Especially Milwaukee, giving me that chance.
I think it’s safe to say that all parties involved is excited about the selection. Hammond and Drew both emphasized the team’s focus on rebuilding as well as highlighting Parker as both a player and a person.It’s eminently apparent that both Parker and the team think that this was the optimal outcome. Thursday’s draft provided no shortage of feel-good moments, and all eyes in Milwaukee will be on the Bucks’ top draft pick going forward.