By Clint Corey
Last night, not only did two basketball powerhouses face off, but also two potential lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft. Michigan vs. Duke, or Glenn Robinson III vs. Jabari Parker played in Cameron Indoor Stadium with the Blue Devils dominating the majority of the game prevailing over the Wolverines 79-69.
The Wolverines struggled throughout illustrating just how valuable current Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke was to last year’s team.
It was also pretty obvious Mitch McGary is still not 100 percent. The pogo stick and energizer bunny for Michigan still lacks explosiveness and lift on his J as he is still recovering from a lower back injury.
McGary sat out the first three games for Big Blue including a 77-70 loss to a surprising Iowa State team on the road. However, even a hobbled McGary was good for 15 points and 14 rebounds in tonight’s loss.
McGary aside, the main matchup NBA scouts were watching was Duke Freshman phenom Jabari Parker vs. Michigan sensational Sophomore Glenn Robinson the Third.
Jabari did not have one of his more impressive outings of the season but really didn’t need to as Duke controlled the majority of the game minus a few Wolverine spurts.
The comparison that is frequently made with Parker is Carmelo Anthony probably due to his 6’8″ size. I don’t really see this and feel he is more similar to Kobe Bryant with the way his body moves, the way he creates off the dribble and his fadeaway jumper.
Jabari’s a special talent because he can essentially create a decent shot any time he wants. This is an invaluable asset at the next level because if a team is stalled in the half court they can always just clear out and let the player with this ability still get a relatively high percentage shot.
Parker demonstrated another huge asset against the Wolverines, his strength, overwhelming Michigan defenders by posting them up effortlessly and getting good looks close to the rim.
He also displayed his ability in the open court taking the ball coast to coast with very little resistance on a pretty play in the first half.
Another positive for whoever drafts Parker is that he often commands a double team which allows for open looks for his teammates as a result of swinging the ball.
All of these aforementioned attributes allow me to confidently say that if I were an NBA GM and the draft were tomorrow, I would take Parker without hesitation with the number one overall pick.
He’s that polished offensively and that difficult of a matchup.
Glen Robinson III
On the other hand, Glenn Robinson the third or GR3 is an amazing athlete, probably a better overall athlete than Parker, but without a penetrating point guard like he had last year with Burke many of his weaknesses were exposed last night.
For starters, unlike Parker, one thing Robinson really struggles with is creating his own shot in the half court.
This was evident against the Blue Devils exemplified by his only taking nine shots the entire game even though he is considered a superstar.
Solidifying this point, two of those shots were an alley oop on the break and a layup off a back door cut in the first half.
Creating opportunities off the dribble for himself is something GR3′s going to have to work very hard on improving if he wants to see playing time at the next level.
Having said that, Robinson’s athleticism and upside are most obvious in the open court where he excels as well as with back door screen lobs.
Unfortunately, the NBA has a million cautionary tales about supreme athletes who didn’t make the cut because they never developed a complete game.
If last night’s game is any indication, it looks as though whoever drafts Robinson will be taking a leap of faith betting that his amazing physical attributes will one day translate to NBA success.