Well this is awkward.
The secret is out. We're not looking at a very inspiring 2013 NBA draft class. In fact, there's such minimal star power at the top that it's necessary to ask this question:
Where would Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins go if they were eligible for this year's draft?
Let's put it this way: The Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic and the rest of the teams at the bottom of the barrel all wish these kids could declare in 2013.
There's a new No. 1 recruit every year, but Andrew Wiggins isn't just another No. 1. Andrew Wiggins is the No. 1.
Wiggins is a guy you look to build a program or franchise around. When eligible, he presents teams with the option of replicating the Oklahoma City Thunder blueprint, which entailed building from the draft instead of the free-agent market.
And the only time building with draft picks actually translates to wins and success is when players like Kevin Durant and Andrew Wiggins are in the available pool of talent.
There's no doubt that if eligible for the 2013 NBA draft, Andrew Wiggins would be the No. 1 overall pick.
There wouldn't be anyone else to even consider. It's a combination of Wiggins being that great, and a 2013 class without a face.
Wiggins is a dynamic, scoring wing with athleticism that tends to humiliate. He's the full package, with a perimeter scoring repertoire of a 2-guard, the size and athleticism of a wing and the power of a 4.
This is what he's doing to poor, helpless high school kids right now:
Grant Traylor @GrantTraylor
Huntington Prep's Andrew Wiggins goes for 57 pts, 13 Rebs, 4 blks on 24-of-28 shooting on same day he's named a Naismith finalist. #baller2/8/2013, 3:20:18 AM
Jabari Parker, the consensus No. 2 recruit in the country, also projects as a potential NBA All-Star down the road.
He's got a rounded offensive skill set that isn't offered by anyone in 2013. Parker can create shots for himself in the half court, finish inside with consistency or create for a teammate as a playmaker.
There aren't many half-court scorers at the pre-NBA level capable of generating points with the game slowed down. It's what gives Parker his upside as a primary scoring option.
Based on what we know today, and Nerlens Noel's torn ACL, here are my projected top four if Wiggins and Parker were eligible in 2013:
No. 1: Andrew Wiggins, Undecided, Small Forward
No. 2: Ben McLemore, Kansas, Shooting Guard
No. 3: Jabari Parker, Duke, Small Forward
No. 4: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, Center
At this point, McLemore offers more certainty than Parker at the No. 2 spot in terms of projecting the transition. Parker probably has more upside at 6'8'' with a complete offensive game, but he lacks the athleticism and explosiveness that all NBA stars these days seem to share.
McLemore certainly has it.
Parker's ceiling becomes more appealing after Noel tore his ACL. It would be hard to justify taking an injured Noel over a healthy Parker, who has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony as an offensive threat.
The man in question here is Parker, as Wiggins has practically solidified his status as the top prospect in the land—high school and college included.
Parker is more of a finesse scorer than a violent one. And you have to be awfully smooth if you want to get away with playing finesse ball at the pro level. Parker's talent helps make up for the fact that he's not a power athlete, but it leaves him little room for error as a scorer.
Either way, he's a potential top-five pick in 2014, and could probably do even better if he'd find a way to enter in this year.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!