Really excited for the draft and I have watched enough youtube videos and games of the top 3 (Wiggings, Jabari, and Embiid) on our board to make my eyes bleed. I don't know anything you guys don't know but I am kind of talking myself into Jabari over Wiggins. If I could get some kind of divine guarantee Embiid would play 70+ games a year he would definitely be number one on my board. However I don't have that and so here is my case for Jabari over Wiggins at this moment in my life. Obviously the chance we can choose between the 2 isn't high but this is me trying to inspire confidence into my favorite blog homies into a pick that could very well occur.
My Reasons for taking Jabari over Wiggins
1. Instant Offensive Arsenal
I'm starting out obvious about these pro's and so it's no secret that Jabari has shown the ability to score and look comfortable scoring from all areas of the floor. Averaging just under 36% from 3 is nothing to riot over but if you remember his insanely hot start there is reason to be optimistic. He shows the ability to create his own shot that we covet as well whether it be driving or pull up jumpers. Additionally he has shown some feel for the post game and the ability to read his opponent's body position and adjust accordingly. Wiggins at this point has a solid but unspectacular 3 point form (34.1%). He has a great transition offensive game almost entirely due to his speed and athleticism. Andrew's half court drive game looked better towards the end of the season as he drew more fouls but his attempts still looked very floppy and even early-season MCW-esque in many ways. He has no problem getting to a position around the rim but his touch and adjustments aren't very promising.
2. Defensive Deficiencies of Jabari
It's no secret that at Duke, Jabari was asked to play a solid amount of center due to the ineptitude of that Plumlee who doesn't even deserve to have his name known. You can argue that Amile Jefferson played center while Jabari was on the court but it wouldn't be a particularly good argument because Amile is 6-9 and 210 pounds. Subtract 10 pounds and perhaps some wingspan and you have Andrew Wiggins playing center for Duke. Additionally, Jabari would also kick out to the wings and guard 3s and 4s a good percentage of the time. My argument here is a rather subjective one and I think that given time to focus on playing solely 3 or 4 defense in the NBA he could show improvement in his on-ball defense. The dude jumped to one of the best college conferences in the US and was asked to learn how to guard 3's through 5's in one season. His steal and block rates are solid for his position and size and I think his defensive deficiencies are overblown due to lack of context. We all are quick to stick up for Wiggins who was somewhat quiet offensively at times "due to the Bill Self system" so I think we owe Jabari some level of slack as well.
3. Value of Offensive Ability on the Market
Jabari's main corrections lie on the defensive end, obviously. Now many are assuming Jabari is the favorite to be the most offensively fertile player in this draft. On the open market, we see offensive firepower pretty consistently beating out defensive prowess in terms of contract value. Melo has been the most lucrative player in the league since he was drafted, even more so than Lebron and Dwayne wade. On the flip side, 2 of this years All-Defensive second team can be had for probably somewhere around or even below 8 Million a year (Jimmy Butler and Patrick Beverly) on the open market. Getting Jabari on a slotted rookie contract for 4 years with his offensive ability versus a Wiggins who brings instant defensive prowess is simply more cost effective for what Jabari brings to your team.
Another Wiggins knock is his personality among media. Don't get me wrong, I don't buy that his lack of overt fire and enthusiasm is any kind of cause for concern. Plenty of players develop those kind of instincts after being exposed to the NBA atmosphere. However, what Wiggins lacks in that department right now I believe Jabari has. If you watched any Duke games you consistently saw Jabari being the focal point of the huddle and looking into each of his teammates faces inspiring confidence. On a sixers team with a lot of question marks, I think that is actually very very important. We see MCW get aggressive and vocal on the floor with his own performance and occasionally his teammates but I haven't seen any kind of real situations where all his teammates' eyes were on him. Whether or not Jabari will be our superstar, even though I'm confident in it, I know he can be our leader.
5. Age and Upside
I know Wiggins is the Khaleesi of upside but I think Jabari has some that hasn't been championed enough. For one, Jabari is actually younger than Wiggins. Now I know Wiggins' upside comes from the capacity of basketball player that he has yet to reach but Jabari has just enough time to improve in the NBA as our friend Andrew. Secondly, Jabari was widely accepted as being a little overweight this season at Duke. Sure the fact that he was overweight is a concern but when you add the context that he missed almost his entire HS senior season with a foot injury its easier to justify. Unleash Brett Brown on him and I don't know why we can't see an NBA Jabari with a little extra hop and a little extra pep in his step come October.
Sorry about the length guys! Just wanted to spur some discussion with #TeamChill.
F&*% Doug Collins