Wiggins vs. Parker: Creating Their Shot

One of the narratives floating around college basketball this season is that Jabari Parker is great at creating his shot and is a pure scorer. I mentioned in another thread how his 3 point shooting can be argued to be pretty much identical to the shooting of Wiggins. But I wanted to look at whether Parker really is creating his own shot better than Wiggins.

I decided that the best way to look at this is to look at non-transition possession and look at how well each player does at creating “unassisted” baskets. Meaning, how good is each one at doing it all (yes, it isn’t “all”) on their own. What I found, I think, is both telling in the comparison of Parker and Wiggins, but also in how KU and Duke differ offensively as well.

Here are the raw numbers:

Parker – Baskets at the rim: 35 (19 assisted) for 61
2 Point Jumpers: 37 (23 assisted) for 78
3 Point Jumpers: 18 (16 assisted) for 45
Overall: 90 (68 assisted) for 184

Wiggins – Baskets at the rim: 21 (6 assisted) for 37
2 Point Jumpers: 15 (1 assisted) for 47
3 Point Jumpers: 16 (12 assisted) for 42
Overall: 52 (19 assisted) for 126

Here are the percentage breakdowns:

Parker – Baskets at the rim: 57.4% shooting, 54.3% of baskets were assisted
2 Point Jumpers: 47.4% shooting, 62.2% of baskets were assisted
3 Point Jumpers: 40% shooting, 88.9% of baskets were assisted
Overall: 48.9% shooting, 75.5% of baskets were assisted

Wiggins – Baskets at the rim: 56.8% shooting, 28.6% of baskets were assisted
2 Point Jumpers: 31.9% shooting, 6.7% of baskets were assisted
3 Point Jumpers: 38.1% shooting, 75% of baskets were assisted
Overall: 41.2% shooting, 36.5% of baskets were assisted

Here are some takeaways:

– Despite having taken 58 fewer total shots, Wiggins actually has MORE unassisted baskets
– Despite taking 31 fewer 2 point jumpers, Wiggins has the same number of unassisted 2 pointers
– It would appear that KU’s offense is not designed to set up 2 point jumpers as a primary weapon. Duke’s offense is not the same way. I would much prefer KU’s strategy of avoiding the most inefficient shot in the game, but Duke has shot well from mid-range.

The counterpoint that many would attempt to make in order to continue the status quo narrative would be that Duke’s offense is just better at moving the ball and getting assists than KU’s offense is. But is that true?

In a word, no. KU actually records an assist on a HIGHER percentage of baskets than Duke does (58.6% vs. 55.6%). In fact, 36% of all Duke assists in halfcourt offense are the result of a Parker shot (68/189). Meanwhile, just 11% of all of KU’s assists are the result of a Wiggins shot. Duke is very reliant on Parker in the halfcourt, KU is not reliant on Wiggins (or anybody individually).

The overall point here is this: Jabari Parker, while a tremendous basketball talent and a great scorer, does not do a better job of creating baskets for himself than the raw, unskilled, poor shooter of Andrew Wiggins. Or maybe people need to realize that Wiggins isn’t just potential. He fits within the KU system rather than became the KU system, and that should be viewed as a positive, not a negative. He has done a better job at creating his own baskets than Parker has up to this point, and he should start getting credit for that.

Written by Nick


Nick the Quick White is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?

Exclusive Method Man Interview