Andrew Wiggins is the type of prospect who is destined for a great career in the NBA. The team he plays for first will partially define the beginning of his NBA journey, but it won't change the bottom line.
By now, everyone has heard that Wiggins will likely never play a game for the team that just selected him No. 1 overall just over a month ago in the 2014 NBA draft.
In order to do that, all indications are that the Cavs will have to part ways with Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and at least one first-round draft pick, per Bob Finnan of The News-Herald in Cleveland.
Is it worth it to part ways with a player who has Wiggins' potential? That's debatable, but one thing isn't: Wiggins will shine whether he begins his career in Minnesota or Cleveland.
The 19-year-old, 6'8", freakishly athletic swingman has everything it takes to make an impact in the NBA from day one. He's physically gifted, long-limbed, comes from an NBA pedigree, spent a year under a proven talent cultivator in college and is humble.
Would a player with these gifts and good fortunes do better in Cleveland or Minnesota? It depends on what your definition of "doing better" is.
In Cleveland, Wiggins has the skill set and temperament to become the Scottie Pippen to James' Michael Jordan. The Young Canadian is defensive-minded and he'd be fine playing second—or even third—fiddle for the suddenly stacked Cavs.
Stardom and attention would ultimately find Wiggins plugging crucial gaps as a defender and finishing masterfully in transition.
While his rookie statistics with the Cavs might not blow anyone away, it's easy to see how he could play a valuable role as a perimeter defender and devastating option above the rim for James and point guard Kyrie Irving.
In many ways, playing for the Cavs could be the ideal spot for Wiggins. He'd be arriving on the scene with less pressure than any No. 1 overall pick has ever faced. Most teams that are fortunate enough to land the top pick are in much worse shape than the Cavs will be in next season.
Therefore, the team doesn't have to depend on Wiggins to score a bunch. All he'd really need to do is defend and play with energy. He could quietly develop the other aspects of his game over his first two years in the league. The game has a way of identifying the truly gifted. Even among a wealth of talent in Cleveland, Wiggins' star is potentially too bright not to shine.
They say people in your life are seasons And anything that happen is for a reason— andrew wiggins (@22wiggins) July 4, 2014
In Minnesota, Wiggins would be asked to carry a much bigger offensive load. In fact, he'd be under as much pressure as any star who has ever called Minnesota home.
Wiggins will play nothing short of 35 minutes per night in Minnesota. He'll be one of the first options offensively, and his scoring will be desperately needed.
Love averaged 26 points per game for the Wolves last season. While Wiggins won't be expected to completely fill the offensive void created by Love's departure, he will inherit much of the responsibility to carry the team offensively.
If he's traded, Andrew Wiggins could become the lone star in Minnesota. Then in 5-7 years -a la Garnett and Love- he can beg to be dealt.— Doug Tribou (@DougTribou) July 18, 2014
A scoring average below 14 points per game in his first year would be considered a bit of a failure.
Because of Wiggins' explosiveness and his ability to get to the basket, averaging close to 18 points a night isn't a stretch in Minnesota. In his one year at Kansas, Wiggins scored 17.1 points per game on just 12.1 shots per night.
Obviously we're talking about the college game as opposed to the NBA, but there is reason to believe Wiggins could be even more deadly in the NBA. He'll get more opportunities to take his man off the dribble. In those situations, his quickness will be even more of an asset.
The opportunities to score will certainly be there for him.
Love averaged 18.5 shots per game last season—you'd have to believe Wiggins would put up at least 15.
He's not the best long-distance shooter yet, but even if he only makes about 40 percent of his shots from the field and gets to the line about six times per game, he'll be a productive offensive player.
At Kansas, Wiggins averaged 6.5 free-throw attempts per game. With more touches in the NBA, that number should translate.
Factor in Wiggins' ability to be a disruptive presence defensively and an aerial attack that should keep him on SportsCenter's Top 10, and you have a budding young superstar in Minnesota.
Though the details would be different in each city, barring injury or some other unfortunate off-the-court events, the end result will be the same.
Wiggins is going to be really good.
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