Joel Embiid, freshman center for the Kansas Jayhawks, has to be careful. Embiid is currently sidelined with a stress fracture in his back, and no one knows how long it will keep him off the court -- he may end up missing the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament. The 7-foot phenom is 19 years old with his entire basketball career ahead of him. Embiid, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a potential number one pick in June's NBA Draft, is stuck in a precarious situation. Right now, 10th-ranked Kansas is one of just a handful of teams capable of winning a national championship. Yet if Embiid returns to the game too soon, he risks damaging his back irreversibly.
While the comparisons to Carmelo Anthony may be overplayed, they aren't exaggerated. Parker doesn't possess Anthony's hyper-explosive element in his own game, but he's so smart, skilled and unselfish that it doesn't matter. I would argue that he's already a better passer than Anthony, not to mention a more committed defender.