Milwaukee Bucks: Comparing Jabari Parker And Andrew Wiggins Early On

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), left, talks with Jabari Parker (Duke) after they were selected number one and number two overall respectively in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), left, talks with Jabari Parker (Duke) after they were selected number one and number two overall respectively in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming into the season, everyone was excited to see how No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker respectively, fared at the professional level.

With a fair amount of games already played, and plenty of opportunities to see just how those two players have played, we can look at and compare just how well they have done.

Andrew Wiggins, being the first overall pick, had lots of hype around him around draft time. He was an athletic playmaker who had superstar potential. The backcourt of Wiggins and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland could have been one of–if not the–best backcourts in the NBA.

The Cavaliers, even with Wiggins, were on a rebuilding path, but had a bright future nonetheless. Instead, LeBron James ran back home, and the Cavs shipped Wiggins to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love. Ever since, the league’s focus has been on Cleveland, while many have forgotten about Wiggins.

No matter where he plays, the hype should remain there.

Parker’s situation was much different from Wiggins’s coming into the league, as Milwaukee was in a rebuilding situation just like the Cavs before the trade, but looked at Parker as the franchise’s future star. The Bucks wanted to keep Parker and build around him, and start to hold some continuity in the organization.

Now being nearly a month into the season, just how have these two played thus far?

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Stats aren’t everything, but let’s first take a look there. In points per game, Wiggins has shown more consistency at 12.5 to Parker’s 11.6, but Parker has the advantage in shooting percentage at 44.4 percent compared to 42.6 percent from Wiggins. In rebounds, Parker beats Wiggins at 5.6 per game compared to 3.5.

Both players have had some trouble with aggressiveness, as plenty of rookies will when they step on an NBA court. The good thing about both player’s games is that their attempts per game are fairly low because they are being picky with their shots and taking the best shots they can get (for the most part).

Taking bad shots just for the attempts isn’t the suggestion here, but to just figure out how to get easier, good looks on more occasions. That is just one of those experience things that comes with time and learning the pro game as they continue to play.

A very good sign from both players is that they have not shot many 3s, which is something I was personally hoping for. Wiggins especially liked to shoot from behind the arc in college, and that was simply just not the part of his game he should have focused on during games.

He could shoot, but he became streaky and never really had much consistency. Parker, on the other hand, just stepped out when the mismatches were there, putting his basketball IQ on full display. Parker had range, but like Wiggins, shouldn’t have tried to incorporate it into his pro game.

One difference between the two has been defense. If anything, critics expected Wiggins to at least be a good defender in the NBA with his athleticism. In 12 games, Wiggins has a defensive rating of 110.9 compared to Parker’s 100.7 through 14 games.

This could be attributed to the team’s specific scheme, with Milwaukee ranked eighth in the league in defensive efficiency and Minnesota ranked 29th. Parker also has 0.5 defensive win shares, with Wiggins at zero.

On the flip side, Wiggins outshines Parker in offensive rating. At 103.1, Wiggins has shown to be a more effective offensive player than Parker at 93.6.

Parker’s favorite shots thus far have been within 10 feet of the rim without taking a dribble. Within 10 feet, Parker is shooting 55.3 percent, and without taking a dribble, he is shooting 56.4 percent (60 effective field goal percentage). Wiggins’ favorite shot has been pull-ups off of no dribbles as well.

Almost half of Wiggins’ shots have been pull-ups, where he is shooting only 33 percent, and off of zero dribbles, Wiggins is shooting 48.5 percent (56.1 eFG%). Wiggins also likes being close to the rim, shooting 48.5 percent within 1o feet of the basket.

Even being the first two overall picks, there was no way both Wiggins and Parker could come in and succeed right away. They have been good, but there have definitely been some fixable mistakes early on. In tough, rebuilding situations, playing this way for both players is pretty impressive still being teenagers.

With plenty of basketball to still be played, it is tough to determine who will be Rookie of the Year just yet. That’s not what this is about, but it certainly will come down to these two at the end of the season. Right now, Wiggins and Parker are neck and neck.

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