Talking Duke in the NBA draft with ESPN's Fran Fraschilla

With the NBA draft just days away, The Chronicle's Daniel Carp sat down with ESPN College Basketball Analyst Fran Fraschilla to discuss Duke's NBA hopefuls and their professional potential.

The Chronicle: What have you seen from Jabari Parker in terms of translating his game to the NBA level and how does he compare to the others at the top of this year's draft?

Fran Fraschilla: I think with Jabari you're looking at a guy who is a multi-skilled scorer. It's an obvious observation that you have to put the ball int he basket. What Jabari has proven throughout his young career is that he can score in a lot of different ways. He's strong enough to play around the basket and score and post up. He has the makings of a very good shooting touch at times. He's deceptively athletic—he's light on his feet and runs the floor, and he's a skilled ball-handler. All those thing he does well, along with prototype NBA size, make him a guy who should have an immediate impact on a team in the league. We've been watching the emergence of Jabari over the past four or five years and I think he's sitting pretty in terms of where he stands with NBA teams.

TC: They say most of the times that NBA teams don't draft for need. With this much talent at the top of the draft, does the top pick speak more to fit than talent?

FF: I think what we have in this draft is three No. 1 picks. [Editor's note: This conversation took place the day before a foot injury to Kansas center Joel Embiid sent him falling down draft boards.] Each player and his resume can make a strong argument for being the first pick in the draft and that bodes well for the top three teams drafting.

When it's all said and done, I think Embiid will go first because it's hard to find skilled big guys like him that young, but there's very little that separates the three. I think if you polled NBA scouts individually, I think each of the players would probably get an equal amount of votes. That's unique—it doesn't happen much.

TC: Rodney Hood has been a guy that is all over draft boards at the moment. What do you think he needs to work on at the next level and where might he end up on draft night?

FF: He took advantage of his year at Duke because he's definitely better than I saw him as a Mississippi State freshman. He's one of the more accurate outside shooters in this draft—that bodes well because outside shooting stretches the floor in the NBA. On the flip side, his body type is not ideal. I also felt that watching him in person and on tape, his lateral quickness defensively could be better. I think that's a major area of concern for him, but he's not alone in that area. Many college guys come to the NBA with certain defensive liabilities.

TC: One of the biggest knocks against both Parker and Hood in their scouting report has been their abilities on the defensive end. Do you see them as players who have the potential to become capable NBA defenders, or do teams know what they're going to get when selecting them?

FF: I think if you look at this draft, I would say seven or eight of the top 12 picks have some major defensive liabilities. So they're not going to be alone. They'll learn to understand NBA spacing and defensive concepts. They'll both be well coached at the NBA level defensively. It's a matter of becoming smarter defensively and working individually to improve from a physical standpoint. They're not going to be the only guys in this league that are suspect defensively.

TC: He's regarded as one of those fringe guys in terms of draftable players, but Andre Dawkins can shoot the lights out, which is a desirable skill to have for an NBA prospect. Is he someone who could get a serious look from teams at the end of the second round?

FF: It's possible that someone could be enamored of his shooting and gamble on Andre. His body of work, unfortunately, was incomplete throughout his Duke career for a number of reasons that were well-documented. There's no question that if you go to Orlando or Las Vegas this summer to the two NBA Summer Leagues, I'm sure Andre will be on a team. If he shoots the ball really well and can do some other things reasonably well, I wouldn't be shocked if he's on an NBA roster next year. I think he still has a lot to prove but he'll get the opportunity whether he's drafted or not.


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