The NBA is about to have a heck of a race for Rookie of the Year on its hands. And it's coming from two similarly sized players who are not that similar in their games.
Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks, is a complete, mature player who can do it all. Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers who now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, might be as athletic as any player in the league. On Saturday, they met for the second time in their pro careers after first meeting up in Las Vegas in the NBA's Summer League.
Both Parker and Wiggins play for bad teams, meaning they'll have plenty of chance to star immediately as their franchises build around them.
In Saturday's exhibition game in Des Moines, Iowa, it was Parker who prevailed with 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 105-98 win. “I understand what it takes to win and be professional,” said Parker. “That’s what I keep in mind: Keep the team in mind and that’s all that matters.”
Wiggins had 10 points and six boards for the Timberwolves.
Who is better?
That really comes down to preference. Wiggins can sky like very few other players in the game. He'll be able to excite the crowd and make big, key plays on both ends of the court for his team. But he might have trouble taking over the game like Parker, because while Wiggins works great finishing and away from the ball, Parker has all of the instincts to take control with the ball in his hands and create his own shot too.
Both, as noted earlier, play for teams that aren't expected to win much. So, if one team makes a big jump in the standings this season, that player will have the upper hand. As Parker noted, that's really the point of the game. While neither is expected to be in the playoffs this year, they each have the chance to do it in the coming years.