It may have seemed like it was just three years ago.
Well, because it actually was.
Going down as one of my favorite all-time NBA draft comparisons ever, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker were set to take over the proffesional level. And since then, it’s looking like the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwuakee Bucks, who both selected Wiggins and Parker in 2014, have bright futures ahead of them.
But unfortunately, as two players who have been predicted to become superstars, Wiggins and Parker may both be suited as second options for their respective franchises — for now.
For Wiggins, a thin, lanky, but airborne and aggresive highlight scorer from Huntington Prep, has been able to see what it’s truly like to lead a franchise early-on. It was sure enough that the trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers was the best thing for his growth, other than taking a backseat to a returning Lebron James.
After having a sturdy Rookie of The Year campaign (16.9 PPG), the 2014 number one-overall pick was already on board to have an all-star kind of impact in Minnesota. But what’s looking like a true blessing in disguise, however, Minnesota hit the lottery once again in 2015, and another #1 overall selection has arrived on the scene. Karl-Anthony Towns is already having many tempting him as the most skilled big-man in the game — in just his second season. And sure enough, he’s quickly making that approach.
After adding a few solid moves over the offseason to improve in certain areas, the Timberwolves are still a struggling team — after receiving so much hype throughout the summer. And at a miserable record of 7-18 (14 in the Western Conference), it seems to be an overabundance of young-yet-inexperienced talent that may never gel. And with defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau growing impatient with the overall lack of veteran leadership and continuity, we could certainly see some moves done within the next 1-2 seasons. Even if that involves Wiggins, himself.
But on the season, Andrew Wiggins is averaging 22.2 points per-game and 4.2 rebounds per-game. Take note that he’s shooting a career-high 38% from downtown — which is recorded as a career-high in attempts, makes, and overall percentage.
Even though the Wolves look miserable, Wiggins has been able to succesfuly improved in what he couldn’t improve in high school nor the collegiate level: His outside shooting. As long as that improves, he’ll be one of the deadlier wing-scorers to watch.
Alongside Wiggins, the number two-overall pick of the 2014 Draft, Jabari Parker has already overcame quite a few obstacles in his career. This was a smooth-scoring, but physically-imposing high school athlete at Simeon, who carried that tremenous skill-set to Duke. Parker was ready to dominate the NBA.
But after playing just 25 games into his rookie season, Parker went down agaisnt the Phoenix Suns, tearing his ACL. He went on to miss the rest of the 2014-15 season, but it just looks like a far distant memory, especially with the way he’s been playing recently.
Parker made a triumphant return, and appeared in 76 games in the 2015-16 season (72 starts). And in 2016-17, it’s been the same story. He’s put the injury behind him, and is a growing superstar in Milwaukee, game after game. In the 2016-17 season, Jabari has put up some very impressive numbers (19.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 36% 3P. All are career-highs). Bucks head-coach Jason Kidd did a tremenous job slowly bringing him back in, and it’s paying off.
Although, Parker isn’t even the resounding star for the Bucks. The “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokoumnpo has greatly overshadowed Parker’s breakthrough, with one of his own. Oddly enough, they’re the only players on Miwaukee’s roster who’ averaging in double-figures. It’s taken much-less pressure of Jabari, and the Bucks are playing significantly well with a record of 13-12 overall, and fifth in the East.
But for Wiggins and Parker, I still have them as one of my more favorite matchups in the NBA. Both players are much different in terms of overall skill-set, but they get it done in their own, attacking ways.
Let’s have a peak at some head-to-head comparisons via NBA.com/Stats:
Wiggins (left) vs Parker (right) head-to-head in 2016-17. pic.twitter.com/9XpQkBmZZv
— Isiah Curry NBA (@FifteenHeatMan) December 17, 2016
Wiggins may be the better player right now, but we cannot dismiss that Parker is coming along very nicely, and might surpass him after the next 2-3 seasons. But both have lived up to the hype of future multiple-time all-stars, and as I’ve said earler, they’ll be winners.
Much later, rather than never.
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