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Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker shine in head-to-head Summer League matchup

Jul 11, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT

Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins

LAS VEGAS — The main event on day one of Summer League in Las Vegas on Friday was the matchup between the Cavaliers and the Bucks, one that featured the top two overall picks in this year’s draft facing each other in NBA-level action for the very first time.

Cleveland’s Andrew Wiggins and Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker both impressed in flashes, and along with last year’s top pick in Anthony Bennett and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, there was no shortage of exciting and athletically remarkable plays to go around.

There was also the LeBron James announcement, which had Cavaliers players and coaches giddy dreaming about next season’s possibilities.

Playing in a gym that was beyond filled to capacity — so much so that fans who had purchased tickets were given refunds, and even NBA players and personnel were told if they left they wouldn’t be guaranteed admittance to return — only added to the atmosphere, and all of the aforementioned players had multiple moments to shine.

Wiggins’ game is still raw, and his shot admittedly needs some work. But his leaping ability is scary good, in that you’re scared he might hurt himself jumping over someone for a rebound, or by flying extra-hard to the basket. He finished with 18 points on just 7-of-18 shooting, but his talent level is undeniable, as is his drool-worthy potential.

Parker’s game looks a bit more NBA-ready, which was how most scouts pegged him in advance of the draft. He showed a knack for having excellent court vision and a willingness to find the open man, but also showed an ability to score in a variety of ways. He had a smooth, sweeping drive that he finished with the left hand, and came back on the very next possession with a spinning lay-in that he was able to finish through contact for the and-1 opportunity.

Parker ended up with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting, to go along with nine rebounds in just under 30 minutes of action.

While the rookies were the ones in the spotlight, there was room for others to make their impact felt as the game went on. Bennett in particular showed a high level of effort and intensity throughout, and even if his overall skill set still has yet to show that it would be worthy of being taken number one overall, his performance was positive enough to gain the praise of his new head coach.

“I thought Anthony did a pretty good job,” Blatt said. “He knows and I know of course that his shot selection could be better. But I liked the fact that he was on the court for a lot of minutes competing, and he made some big plays, and he worked hard at both ends of the court. You know, Anthony’s biggest trouble last year was he never really had the opportunity to play enough, because he was either hurt or not in good enough physical shape. As you can see, he’s worked very hard at that, and that’s a good first step. And he did some good things basketball-wise. I was happy with AB, and I’ve been happy with him since the camp started. He’s really really made the effort, he’s tried to lead the guys through example. He’s a kid that’s trying to do something about his situation, and that’s the right way to go about it.”

Bennett finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Antetokounmpo had one of the more athletic plays of the day, taking just two dribbles to go three-quarters of the length of the court to lead a fast break and finish it off with a thunderous slam. He was more aggressive as the game went on, and finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, to go along with six rebounds.

The talent on the floor, the atmosphere in the gym and the LeBron James news hanging over it all made this game a special experience by Summer League standards.

“It was crazy,” Wiggins succinctly said.

  1. jeffkx - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Agreed. When Parker loses a little weight and Wiggins puts on some muscle..holy smokes..

    • advantec333 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Parker at 238 lbs is fine, he is in shape and Wiggins need to muscle up.

  2. borisalessandri - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    Wiggins vs Parker is going to be one-sided for a long time in the W-L column

    • jeffkx - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      Yea it will. But even as a Cavs fan I think long-term Parker will be better. But that Giannis guy may help out on that W-L thing. Wow.

      • trevor123698 - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:22 AM

        parker will be garbage

      • fanofthegame1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        Wiggins will be better than Parker and it will not be close. Parker may be better in fantasy, but real life there will be no debate.

  3. luz56 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    2015/16 will be the year Cleveland wins the NBA title… Add Kevin Love and it’s this year… Laker are going to win the D league title and that will be as close to a championship as they will get… They went into the off season with no plan thinking we are the Lakers and everyone wants to play for us! Good on LBJ for making it right in Cleveland

  4. asimonetti88 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    That dunk by Giannis was so crazy

    • zoomy123 - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:18 AM

      Physically, I’ve never seen a player built like Giannis except Kevin Durant; but Giannis seems to be even more athletic. When he finally grows into his body he’s going to be a matchup nightmare for either 3’s or 4’s.

  5. dacapt704 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    Jabari is the real deal. Period.

  6. antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Both impressive, though a little off. I liked Parker’s hustle at the end of the game. He wanted to win. Wiggins was calm, cool and collected and proved again that he can jump very high. He seemed to play well defensively too – active and alert – and stripping the ball from Parker late. Parker answered by overpowering him a few possessions later.

    So far… good for the Bucks and good for the Cavs.

  7. saint1997 - Jul 12, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    I disagree with the statement that Jabari’s game is more NBA ready. Offensively – Jabari is a bit in front of Wiggins, but defensively Wiggins is miles ahead in terms of NBA contribution.

  8. rhett16 - Jul 12, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    It’s a good day for the NBA, I mean when was the last time anyone could claim a Bucks/Cavaliers game was the main event of anything? Good for those teams, I hope they both do well this year.

  9. jrob23 - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    LOL at Parker’s video with him schooling white dudes that have no chance to play. He will not be able to do that in the NBA against good players and will be a couple of tiers below the kind of player Wiggins will be..from day one!

    • 15412pack - Jul 12, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      Clearly didn’t watch the game. Parker looked way more versatile than I thought. Was more exciting than any Bucks game I’ve seen in a few years.

      What a choice for Cleveland. Keep Wiggins who is loaded with talent and see how he develops with Bron or send him to Minni and reunite Uncle Drew and Wes and contend from Day 1.

      Bucks are a few years away, but the Central Division is loaded right now.

  10. 00maltliquor - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    2 dribbles to go something like 3/4ths of the court for a slam to finish, I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own two eyes! That was unearthly. Feer the Deer, that’s all I have to say about that.

  11. djstickypants - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Parker will be a nice pro, nothing more. Wiggins has the higher ceiling.


    • realfootballfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      I hear this a lot, but Parker is a special talent. I think Wiggins is more coachable, but Parker is very gifted in all facets of the game, and there’s a reason that many wanted to draft him over Wiggins. Having the right coach to motivate him and get his respect will be the key imo.

      • kavika6 - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:14 AM

        Agree except the “more coachable” part.

  12. captainwisdom8888 - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    When I found at that my 76ers had the 3rd pick in the draft, I was bummed out but still had hope that either Parker or Wiggins would still be there. Then Joel Embiid gets hurt at the worst possible time and any dream of acquiring one of those 2 guys was completely gone.

    Nerlens Noel looks like he is going to be a very talented NBA center, so I wonder what the Sixers will do when Embiid is back next season. I still wish my team had Parker or Wiggins but having 2 Allstar-caliber big men is a great position to find yourself in. If they both start for the Sixers than Philly will have the best rim protection in the entire league.

  13. unxpexted1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    The difference between these two is all about how they get their baskets. Whether you want to say one’s better than the other, is up for debate. But offensively, wiggins does get his but its off of transition, passes to the basket and the occasional step back. He went 1-6 from three with 2 airballs.

    Jabari got pretty much every basket of his on his own. All in different ways. step backs, turn arounds, drives to the baskets finishing with both hands. So who ever says his game is not offensively NBA ready doesn’t know what you’re talking about.

    Wiggins is better defensively, not sure who they are going to have jabari guard. He guarded a 3, 4, and 5 in this game.

    • Kurt Helin - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Maybe we should wait for more than one game before drawing hard and fast conclusions.

  14. realfootballfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    If the Timberwolves can dupe the Cavaliers into trading “Wiggins for Love, they’ll be on their way back to relevancy. Dude’s going to be a stud.

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