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NBA draft preview: Jabari Parker vs Andrew Wiggins

With the NBA draft two days away, there is a lot of debate on who the Cleveland Cavaliers should take with the first round pick. According to Gary Parrish’s mock draft, the Cavs are leaning towards selecting Jabari Parker. However, Parrish believes that Andrew Wiggins has the greater upside in his basketball future.

Jabari attack the rim in first round loss to Mercer
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Parrish simply states, the best longterm version of Wiggins is greater than the best longterm version of Parker. Are we really sure about this though? There’s no doubt that Wiggins jumps higher and is very athletic, but does his athleticism translate into becoming an NBA star? The answer is yes, but it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be better than Jabari Parker in the future.

Joel Embiid's broken foot drops him from No.1 status in NBA lottery.

The NBA loves to disregard basketball players. It’s almost taboo to be a great basketball player. That’s what Jabari Parker will be. When it comes to finishing in the paint, hands down Jabari Parker will outshine Andrew Wiggins. For all of Wiggins’ athletic ability, you don’t see him attacking the rim in traffic and assaulting the rim the way Parker does.

Andrew Wiggins was born in February of 1995 and that makes him 19 years old. Jabari Parker was born in March of 1995, which means that he’s actually a little bit younger than Wiggins. Therefore, when NBA pundits mention Andrew Wiggins’ upside compared to Jabari Parker’s, it sounds a little suspicious.

Parker has all the requisite skills that translate to basketball. He’ll be able to score from all of the spots on the floor. He can run the floor and has great hands, which can not be understated in the game of basketball. Some of the greatest athletes in the NBA are walking turnovers because they can’t catch the ball in traffic. Parker should never have that problem.

Andrew Wiggins has better on ball defense, but his defensive prowess didn’t lead to more opponents’ turnovers. There were times in 2014 that Parker looked lost on the defensive end. Wiggins averaged one block and 1.2 steals per game. Parker averaged 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Jabari Parker averaged almost two points and three rebounds better per game, while Wiggins had the slight advantage in assists per game.

Unless something drastically happens in the next two days, one of these two players will be taken in the first spot. The other won’t be far behind in the draft order. However, if you’re drafting on potential, it’s illogical to drop Joel Embiid because of his foot injury. Yet, that’s where we are in the NBA process.

Maybe the Cleveland Cavaliers will surprise everybody and take Dante Exum No.1 overall.


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