Before the year, we heard that this year’s NBA draft could be the best ever. Then we heard that these young freshmen just needed some time to grow. Then we heard there may be no guaranteed superstar in the draft. And then we heard that this is one of the deepest drafts ever. No one really knows what to make of this draft though. There are a number of player comparisons though, that have been exhausted by every basketball expert and fan. Let’s take a look at a couple.
Joel Embiid/Hakeem Olajuwon
During the draft, it is pretty much inevitable that Embiid will be compared to Olajuwon at some point. The comparison has some merit, but is grossly overused and unlikely. Much of the comparison comes because Embiid, like Olajuwon, comes from Nigeria. Embiid is extremely athletic and reminds many scouts of a younger, more polished at the time, version of Olajuwon. There’s no doubt the Olajuwon comparison is the best-case scenario for Embiid, and it’s more likely that Embiid would end up as a Serge Ibaka type of player in the NBA if he stays healthy.
Andrew Wiggins/Paul George
Initially, Wiggins was compared to LeBron. That’s preposterous and has basically been abandoned by most experts at this time. But recently, after Wiggins’ somewhat, if not largely, disappointing freshman season at Kansas, scouts have begun to claim that Wiggins is actually more similar to Paul George. The thinking is that Wiggins will be a lockdown defender in the NBA who isn’t quite capable of being a true go-to-guy on a team that can win a championship. George was still a guy who put up over 20 points per game, but in the playoffs it was evident that he isn’t someone you can faithfully expect to carry the offense on most nights. This comparison is more accurate than the LeBron comparison, but is still fairly ambitious considering George is one of the premier players in the league.
Jabari Parker/Paul Pierce
We’re talking about scoring ability, craftiness, and body type here. That’s why many people think Parker could be a slightly bigger version of Pierce. Pierce is not quite an elite athlete, but he always manages to create just enough room to get a good shot off. He still somehow beats defenders off the dribble, even though he is not particularly quick. Parker does much of this as well, thanks to his strong basketball IQ. The difference is height, Parker being a few inches taller than Pierce. Parker can post guys up a little bit, and he flourishes in the midrange a la Pierce, but he can still step behind the arc and hit from deep. The comparison is not far off, but Jabari may just be a very poor man’s Carmelo. In other words, a 20+ chucking scorer, who doesn’t play defense.
Julius Randle/Zach Randolph
This comparison needs to step. Here’s where they’re similar: both guys are lefty and Randle is somewhat hefty, while Randolph is one of the bulkiest players in the league. I guess both players’ games could be classified as ugly, but still effective. Other than that, the comparison isn’t too accurate. Randolph can bully his way in the paint against just about anyone. He’s one of the best low-post scorers in the league, and he’s a very underrated passer. Randle is definitely a physical player, whose effectiveness and efficiency is a bit tied to getting to the foul line, but he is a horrendous passer.
Aaron Gordon/Shawn Marion
Gordon is an extremely athletic forward without a real position. Marion is pretty much the same, but a few inches shorter. Both guys cannot shoot the ball. So, that’s the comparison. It might be Gordon’s best case scenario. Gordon is hard to project. He should be a borderline superstar, or at least All Star based on athleticism, which rules in the NBA. But his skills are so underdeveloped, it’s not difficult to envision him busting out.
Dough McDermott/Any White Shooter
Okay fine. I guess that’s pretty accurate.
Zach LaVine/Russell Westbrook
I hate this player comp. Both guys just happen to be freak athletes who went to the same school, UCLA. Besides that, there’s nothing. LaVine is extremely skinny, but could be a very good shooter in the NBA. Westbrook might just be the strongest guard in the league and is not exactly a great shooter.