The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the doldrums of the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.
It’s been six years since the No. 1 and No. 2 picks both made the All-Rookie team. Heck, it’s been just as long since the top two picks played even 2,000 minutes as rookies.
We’ve been waiting a while – since Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley – for the highest draft picks to immediately meet expectations.
Can Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker finally buck the trend?
They’ve got a heck of a chance.
Rarely do top-two picks enter the season without major expectations. Even Anthony Bennett, whom Cleveland reached for at No. 1 last year, faced the pressure typical of a No. 1 pick. So, whenever one or both of the top two picks struggles, it’s surprising on some level – even though it usually happens.
But per annual tradition, I have my hopes up Wiggins and Parker will deliver.
Parker looked NBA-ready at Duke, and Wiggins acquitted himself quite well in summer league. If Parker and Wiggins can handle it, the Bucks and Timberwolves have openings for playing time.
The Cavaliers – who at the time were trying to lure LeBron James – insisted Wiggins was a shooting guard, and Parker might play some power forward for the Bucks. But both should see a majority of their minutes at small forward.
Wiggins’ trade from Cleveland takes him from Parker’s division, but Minnesota-Milwaukee can still be a nice regional rivalry. Their fan bases border, at least.
Wiggins and Parker will be competing this season – against each other and against the recent history of top-two picks failing to immediately excel. If they can collectively meet the latter challenge, the former becomes that much more intriguing.