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Is Jabari Parker angling to play in Milwaukee?

One report suggests the possible No. 1 draft pick intentionally sucked in his workout with the Cavaliers so he could fall to the Bucks at No. 2. Is a top NBA prospect really trying to maneuver his way to Milwaukee?

Streeter Lecka

Monday brings us the NBA Draft's most unintentionally hilarious rumor: Duke's Jabari Parker, a candidate for the No. 1 pick, may have tanked his workout with the Cavaliers on Friday because he doesn't want to play there, according to ESPN's Chad Ford.

Instead, Parker reportedly wants to be picked second. By the Bucks. Who play in Milwaukee.

Parker came in to work out on Friday in front of the Cavs' front office and ownership. Parker wasn't great. He was a bit heavy (he weighed in at 255 pounds), didn't shoot the ball well and got winded at times. Furthermore, two different sources told that Parker seemed a bit indifferent. One source said he thought Parker "tanked" the workout.

Why? A source says he strongly prefers to play in Milwaukee. The Cavs appear to be aware of this. "Jabari wasn't himself," one source said. "It was clear we weren't his first option."

Yes, this rumor suggests that a 19-year-old is angling to head to Milwaukee. Even if Cleveland doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation, the alternative is Milwaukee.

Does this rumor actually pass the smell test?

Why this makes sense

A few reasons. In descending order of likelihood:

Parker wants to play closer to home: Chicago, the city that Parker lorded over for each of his four high school seasons, is less than an hour away. The Bulls surely can't move up into the top five to take Parker, so Milwaukee is the next-best option. Parker has always possessed a close bond with his family. Perhaps he just wants to have more direct access to them.

Parker can fit in more easily in Milwaukee: The Cavaliers spent last year's No. 1 pick on Anthony Bennett, a similar combo forward who has great scoring ability, but struggles defensively. His game is very similar to Parker's. By contrast, the Bucks offer a cleaner slate and the chance for Parker to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo, a rangy wing player who can cover for Parker's defensive deficiencies.

It's not like Cleveland is especially glamorous: This isn't like choosing Milwaukee over Los Angeles. It's choosing Milwaukee over what many might consider Milwaukee South. Actual Milwaukee doesn't have a body of water that caught on fire, after all.

Why this doesn't make sense

We have to believe that an NBA player actually is maneuvering to get to Milwaukee. Let me say that again: we have to believe that an NBA player actually is maneuvering to get to Milwaukee.

There are other reasons, too. Parker would join a more ready team in Cleveland and wouldn't have nearly as much pressure to be the franchise player. You'd also struggle to find any player with any sort of ambition who would prefer not to be the No. 1 pick. Finally, it's possible that Parker did struggle in his Cavaliers workout despite his best intentions; there have been questions about his conditioning, and this was one of his last stops on the workout tour.

But most notably, it doesn't make sense because we have to believe that an NBA player actually is maneuvering to get to Milwaukee.


I can believe a rumor that suggests Parker wouldn't mind going to the Bucks, but the idea of a player intentionally tanking a crucial workout just so he could play in Milwaukee is too absurd to take seriously. 2 out of 10.