NBA Picks: Is Jabari Parker the Best Bet for Rookie of the Year?

David Lawrence

Sunday, October 5, 2014 5:47 PM GMT

There are two leading candidates for NBA Rookie of the Year award according to the NBA odds. One is Andrew Wiggins, and the other is Jabari Parker. With Parker being more polished and in an easier conference, he may be the better bet to win the award.

Why He’ll Be The Rookie Of The Year
The reason why Parker and Wiggins are the same, and why one of them will probably win the NBA Rookie Of The Year Award, is that they are both on teams in which they’re going to be asked to score a lot. Neither Parker’s Milwaukee Bucks nor Wiggins’ reconstituted Minnesota Timberwolves have deep benches or lots of offensive talent. Minnesota actually does have Ricky Rubio as point guard, and while one could say that having a guy like that on a team will help Andrew Wiggins, and it could, the advantage this gives Parker is that he has even fewer good players surrounding him in Milwaukee. Anything Parker does for the Bucks will be magnified more than what Wiggins does for the Wolves. If the two players both put up the same stats, say 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists per game, Parker should get the nod, because it’s accepted in and throughout the NBA that Minnesota is a better team than Milwaukee. Parker will be perceived to have done more with less, and that would catapult him into the front spot for Rookie of the Year unless another rookie comes up with something really special.

In terms of a specific reason why Parker, the basketball player and athlete, can win the ROY award, it’s that Parker has a stronger and more developed upper body than Wiggins. Parker will be able to finish more plays at or near the rim. He has a more developed offensive game that is readily transferrable to the pros from Duke. Wiggins works really hard, but Parker has the polished skills, and with Jason Kidd taking over the Bucks, Parker is going to be playing for a coach who really sees the game on the floor and can help him to make good decisions.

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Why He’ll Be A Bust
This is something that has to be considered. Jason Kidd did better than a lot of people expected he would with the Brooklyn Nets last season, but Kidd is now stepping into a new operation with unchecked power in Milwaukee. He might be taking on a lot more than he can deal with. He might think he’s ready to control a full basketball operation when he’s not yet ready for that much responsibility. If Kidd winds up misjudging the rebuilding effort he has in front of himself in Milwaukee, Parker would be just one of many players on the Bucks’ roster who would suffer. The team could collapse, and Parker would not be able to rise to the top. His development as a player could be set back.

The other thing to point out about Parker is that he plays lousy defense. This is a correctable problem, but a lot of NBA players don’t play very good defense. More specifically, if they don’t play for a really good defensive coach such as Tom Thibodeau or Gregg Popovich or Doc Rivers, they might not ever develop the right habits. Parker could become a one-way player whose modest offensive contributions might not be worth all of his lapses and deficiencies on defense. He could become a marginal player and, in the end, a bust. So keep that in consideration when making your NBA pick for Rookie of the Year.