With the NBA Draft less than a week away and Joel Embiid likely being out of the race for the #1 pick due to an unfortunate foot injury, I've decided to compare the two most likely candidates for the #1 pick, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. (Update on 6/22/14: added NBA Comparisons)
The incredibly skilled SF/PF out of Duke took the NCAA by storm with his advanced basketball IQ, finishing the season by winning the 2014 NCAA freshman of the year award and leading all freshman with 19.1 PPG as well as finishing with 8.7 RPG, good for 3rd among all freshman.
A truly gifted scorer, Jabari Parker is able to score in a variety of ways. He's a strong finisher inside, can stretch the floor with his shooting ability, can take defenders on the low block, back them down with his strength and lay it in over the defense as well as take defenders off the dribble all while shooting an efficient 47% from the field. Here are Jabari Parker highlights from the Duke vs. UNC game on 3/8/2014.
Jabari is a very high-level rebounder for a SF, racking up 8.7 RPG as a freshman (3rd among all freshman and 47th overall in NCAA). He's able to get great position under the boards due to his size and strength and has good hands, his high motor makes him a very effective offensive rebounder as well (averaged 3 ORPG) leading to easy put backs and extra posessions.
Jabari has a very good handle for his size which helps him create shots for himself and others, if needed he is capable of having an offense run through him.
Jabari is a poor defender, mostly due to his lack of lateral quickness, and it's something that needs to be improved if he wants to be a star at the next level. He has a hard time keeping up with faster SF's and doesn't close out on shooters as well as he should, if he can get in better shape it could help alleviate some of these issues. He might be best suited guarding PF's at the next level.
While Jabari isn't completely unathletic, he isn't quite as athletic as Wiggins, which may not be a fair comparison, but since I'm comparing him to Wiggins I thought I should add this as a weakness. As I stated above, Jabari lacks the lateral quickness needed to defend at the SF position, he also may have issues getting by defenders at the next level, which will be a problem because he can't overpower guys in the NBA like he did in college. Here is a scouting report courtesy of Draft Express.
Wiggins is an elite athlete who has all of the physical tools to be a franchise centerpiece in the NBA. If he can put on strength and develop offensively, we could be looking at the leader of the next generation of talent in the NBA.
It's no secret Wiggins is an amazing athlete, boasting an eye-popping 44-inch vertical, he has the ability to leap and finish over the defense as well as a quick first step to get in the lane. His speed makes him almost unstoppable in transition. His athleticism also makes him a very good defender, he has the quickness to stay in front of most of the NBA's small forwards or shooting guards. Athletically, Wiggins is unmatched when it comes to this years draft prospects and it gives him the most two-way potential of any player in this draft.
Wiggins is a very good defender for his age and has the potential to be a lockdown defender at the next level. His speed, quickness and length allow him to stay in front of opposing players and contest their shots. He is also very good at getting in the passing lanes and creating opportunities for easy points on the fast-break. His athleticism allows him to chasedown players and block shots in transition.
Andrew can get to the line at will and hits a very good percentage of his free throws, although he needs to improve his finishing ability, this helps make up for his deficiencies in that department. Here are some Andrew Wiggins highlights from the West Virginia game.
Despite Wiggins' sound shooting mechanics he is an inconsistent shooter. Sometimes he changes the way he releases the ball on his shot and it causes him to miss. He will need to improve this as he develops in the NBA.
Andrew Wiggins is able to get in the lane at will, but he struggles finishing in traffic, though he does make up for it by getting to the line and hitting his free throws. Once again this is something he needs to improve to play at the next level.
Andrew is an average ball handler, which causes him to sometimes turn the ball over even if know one is around him, he is not someone you want to be your primary ball handler in any capacity. This is something that can be improved. Here is an Andrew Wiggins scouting report courtesy of Draft Express.
Tracy McGrady/Vince Carter
Let me know what you think.