Several days ago I came up with the Idea to write an article based on Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. I didn’t want to do it alone so I contacted one of the best basketball minds I could find in Brian Carthens and he agreed to co-author it with me. Brian is one of the new contributors here at Tru School Sports and comes from a basketball back round playing basketball at the junior college level and is just a huge fan of the game at all levels then just the NBA. Brian has a website set to launch in the near future you can follow him on Twitter @CarthensBC. This is a 2 person article with the first part being Brian. So enjoy it, because it is a classic.
When you look at the history of the NBA, rivals are what fuel the interests of general fandom. Back in the 80s, after a showdown in that national championship game in the late 70s, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird infused new life in the league. Both Magic and Bird cemented their legacies in Laker and Celtic lore. Fast forward a few decades and you have the epic battle between St. Vincent St Mary and Oak Hill Academy. On one side there was the prodigal son LeBron James who garnered more headlines than arguably any high school athlete to that point. The opposition was led by Carmelo Anthony who was known as a silky smooth offensive machine at the time. They now are playing for bitter rivals, the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks. While the book on their careers or rivalry has yet to be closed, there is another one brewing under the surface.
Enter Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Jabari was once pegged as the best high school player since Lebron James. He was the highest rated player in the class of 2013 for an extended period. That is, until Wiggins reclassified. This has the makings of a 10-15 year barbershop argument when the question is asked: “Who is the better player?” Is it Jabari? Is it Wiggins? Let’s do an in depth analysis of both prospects.
Pros - When you watch Jabari Parker, one thing you will recognize from the jump is that he plays within the flow of the team. He stands out without always having to score as he is a very cerebral player. He has tremendous humility which enables him to be extremely coach able. That is always a great trait when looking for a player to reach superstar status. Jabari has the skills to play the 3 position on offense. He possesses a nice shooting stroke, whips nifty passes through traffic, and also rebounds’ his area really well. He also has “sneaky” athleticism and handles the ball pretty well.
Cons- While Jabari is an elite level talent there are also plenty of areas he can improve. Let’s start with his body. He was injured for a part of his senior season and had to play himself in shape. He was extremely overweight when he returned but worked diligently to shed off 30 lbs in a couple months. He also struggles with laterally foot speed on defense against wing players. Those are two major areas of concern in regards to his ceiling as a NBA player. It will be hidden a bit at Duke next season, as he will be playing the 4 therefore guarding the 4, but he must continue to improve in that area.
Pros –Andrew Wiggins is not like most stars these days. He is very much introverted and that is encouraging. This quality enables one to avoid being too friendly on the court to others on the opposing team (See Derrick Rose). Andrew Wiggins has possibly the most explosive leaping ability in recent memory. He plays well above the rim in the rarefied air like greats such as Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, etc. He runs effortless down the court like a deer. He has that spring in his legs where his trot is as fast as most players full out sprint. He has a developing jump shot along with a spin move that has become his patent go to move. Wiggins also has an explosive first step that allows him to step by most defenders with ease. Wiggins handles the ball really well. He too has a great deal of humility which makes him a coach’s joy. He also has long arms and good lateral quickness which gives him all the tools to be an elite level wing defender in the NBA.
Cons- While it is a work in progress, Wiggins needs to continue to develop his jump shooting. The NBA defenses will play off of a player who they think is not equipped to beat them from the outside. Wiggins will need to be more assertive at key moments in the game. Oftentimes he will coast when the competition isn’t on his level (hardly ever in high school) and he will go through lulls due to what appears to be lack of assertiveness.
While both players possess awesome skill sets, I choose Andrew Wiggins to be the better pro between the two. Both players have shown the ability to listen to their coaches’ advice, take it in stride and implement it. However, Wiggins is much more the sure thing when talking the NBA. They will have similar numbers in college and in the Duke system he may have better numbers, but Wiggins is the ultimate grab in the 2014 draft. While many people will judge it based off of the game between Kansas and Duke November 12, 2013, I will go off of my basketball instinct and say that Wiggins will be the better pro. What do you think?
I look at Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker and I see everything that the NBA and its fans need. Not everybody is a fan of a team some people just like basketball as a whole and cheer for players for rather then teams. I think Wiggins and Parker are going to do for the NBA what Magic and Bird did in the 80’s along with Iverson and Kobe in the early 2000’s. They are going to spark debate and give casual fans a side to choose. Both are extremely talented and I’m sure plenty of NBA GM’s are looking forward at the possibility of grabbing these 2 tremendously talented players. Until they meet each other in college and ultimately in the NBA there is really nothing to do but dissect, analyze and just give insight and opinions into who’s game is better suited for the NBA and who we think will be a better player. So I’m going to try to build of what Brain Just said because he did a great job and made a lot of valid points.
Pros-Jabari Parker has a 7 foot wingspan which allows him to get his hands on a lot of balls as he averaged just under 2 blocks per game last season and just over 3 blocks. He does a fantastic job of creating his offense off the dribble. One of the more underrated parts of his game is his timing of knowing when and when not block shots you can’t really teach that and Jabari does that very well. The Chicago native knows how to finish at the rim and he is very crafty. Jabari as an offensive player can do a lot and do it without breaking the teams offensive flow, Jabari does have the ability to stretch the floor and shoot the 3 pointer at a high clip.
Cons- Like Brian stated earlier Jabari was overweight and had to basically play himself into shape and that raises concern with me. Jabari has all the talent in the world but as a basketball player your body and conditioning come first and the fact that he was overweight raises questions with me about his discipline. You can get away with that in high school but in the pros where everybody is an elite athlete your conditioning must be elite to match up with them. Defensively Parker’s foot speed is a concern as he struggles guarding the perimeter which is a must for any teams starting small forward.
Pros- Wiggins possesses NBA athleticism at the young age of 18 and to be quite honest he can jump higher then a lot of current players at this present moment. The type of feeling you get watching Lebron jump is about the same when you watch Wiggins. He also has a 7 foot wingspan which makes him a nightmare on defense when you couple that with his leaping ability. Unlike Parker He moves very well side to side and can stay with pretty much anybody in front of him. Wiggins has physical tools but also has the technical skills to match it. If you watch Wiggins he uses that size to post up on the block and create offense for himself as well as teammates. His potential is limitless.
Cons- Like anybody who is just more talented than his peers he has a tendency to get bored, not compete and stay as engaged as he could. So staying engaged at all times is something Wiggins will have to do at the next level. As great as he is physically I still think there is room for him to grow in terms of putting on some size so that’s something he should work on as he is heading to Kansas.
Final Analysis: I am a huge Jabari Parker fan but I feel like the upside Wiggins has and the physical tools he already posses will always have him just a bit better than Parker. All in all though I feel like these 2 guys will push each other to new limits and give us great basketball for many years to come. So I’ll let you decide are you on the side of Andrew Wiggins Or Jabari Parker. If you want to talk about what you just read with me Tweet me @ThatboyBtaylor on Twitter and I’ll gladly respond.
Jabari Parker Mixtape
Andrew Wiggins Mixtape