Parker could be game-changer for Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks and new owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens are hopeful that first-round draft pick Jabari Parker will be a game-changer on and off the basketball court for the organization.

The Bucks recently introduced the 19-year-old Parker who instantly became the face of the franchise in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 300 championship-starved fans at the Milwaukee Public Market in the city’s Historic Third Ward.

The Bucks selected Parker, a 19-year-old forward from Duke University, with the second pick in the NBA draft.

Bucks general manager John Hammond and Coach Larry Drew said Parker was at the top of the team’s draft board. When the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins from Kansas with the first pick of the draft, the Bucks had the opportunity to get Parker.

“This is a great opportunity for us an as organization to have a player like this,” Hammond said.

“We got the man that we really wanted,” Drew said. “We really did. We got a piece that is going to help take us to the next level.”

Parker said he is glad to be part of an organization that was upfront with him about wanting him so badly.

“The organization was all in,” he said. “I’m really gratified to be with a team that embraces me.”

Parker, a Chicago native, reiterated comments he made before the draft that he hopes to spend his entire NBA career in Milwaukee.

“I don’t look forward to leaving anytime soon,” Parker said. “If I just looked at this as a short term deal things won’t work out.”

“Jabari Parker welcomed the idea of being a Milwaukee Buck,” Hammond said.

At 6-foot-8 Parker has good size and is known as a prolific offensive player who can score in a variety of ways.

But even more than his basketball skills, Hammond and Drew raved about Parker’s character.

“One part is Jabari Parker the player. But I think more important in the long run is Jabari Parker the man and what he stands for,” Hammond said.

“When I had an opportunity to meet him, (I realized) this is a fine young man,” Drew said. “This is a humble young man who is driven. I knew this is a guy who we wanted here. This city will be very proud to have a guy like Jabari Parker here.”

Lasry and Edens are hopeful Parker undeniable charisma and composure, as well as his performance on the basketball court, will help them gather public support to help them build a new arena for the team.

The new owners’ next great task will be to name a new team president, who will be expected to make many significant changes in the Bucks’ front office.

“This is a new day in Bucks basketball,” Hammond said. “(Lasry and Edens) are going to do great things for this organization and great things for this city. We are in great hands moving forward. I want everyone to know that.”

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