Here’s a simple equation:
Andrew Wiggins + Philadelphia 76ers = A perfect marriage.
At least this is how it should be.
We all know that Wiggins has been touted as the best prospect since LeBron, and if the “No HS players can go directly to the NBA” rule hadn’t been enforced, he would have just finished his rookie season after jumping straight to the pros last year. His freshman season was successful (17 pts/6 rds/45% FG/34% 3P) even though it stripped some of the unrealistic hype away from him at the same time. At this time, here’s what we’re essentially left with: A player who’s a super athletic talent, can run the floor, play defence, score the basketball, may have a questionable motor, & even if he might not be the most NBA ready player in the draft, without question he has the highest upside on any player.
As a fellow Canuck, I would love nothing more than for him to reach his full potential. Not only does it help boost Toronto’s profile further as a new basketball haven, but it also helps to raise the profile of Team Canada. For Wiggins to reach said potential however, I –much like a lot of people — would like to see the level of his aggressiveness being raised. It doesn’t have to be anything demonstrative, or having him constantly beating on his chest & pointing in the stands. But it can small & simple simple changes to his mindset on the floor. For example: as athletic as he is, he barely showcased that in the paint. He didn’t use his 44-inch vertical to tear the rim off on guys, or dunk in traffic. A lot of times, he would attempt the layup instead of dunking it, & didn’t have a huge amount of success finishing at the rim (only converted 63% of his attempts at the rim). I do, however, expect that to change once he starts playing this Fall (or hoping to) with the big boys.
With Joel Embiid’s injury, it throws off the whole draft lineup. Most likely it would have been Embiid # 1, Parker at # 2 to the Bucks, & Wiggins ending up a 76er. No one has any idea what’s really happening now, but it’s starting to look like Wiggins will now go to Cleveland or Milwaukee. Here’s a quick reasons as to why I do NOT want to see this happen:
Addressing my concerns with his ability to drift in & out of games, why the f*** would I want him to go to a team that doesn’t necessarily share the ball??? Listen, we all know Dion Waiters is a talent, but let’s face the facts here. He’s not passing the ball unless every pass he makes attributes to two points in his stat line. If Wiggins does end up going to Cleveland tonight, they need to trade Waiters tomorrow. As far as Kyrie Irving goes, I absolutely love his talent, especially the way he can score in the half court. Everyone wants to put him on the pedestal as the next best PG to one day take the title away from Chris Paul…… however, people are not seeing that his game & the effect it has on his team is more Stephon Marbury-like than people care to consider. The only problem with that comparison is Marbury passed more (averaged 8.4/per his 1st 3 years; Irving: 5.8/per) and was a lot more durable. Wiggins will need the ball in his possession more to help keep that “Dawg Switch” on, & his handles are not the strongest part of his game at the moment. Therefore, someone will have to set him up & help create opportunities for him on the floor. So if this backcourt stays together, we’re really to expect that these two ball-dominant players are going to help nurture Wiggins’ switch? Gimme a break!
Another factor is, as much as I love guys who grew up in the same city, playing together on the same team, there are still so few Canadians in the league today. I want that talent to be more spread out. I really don’t want all of them (Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett) on the same team. On the floor, I’m also afraid of what it might do to Bennett’s potential (and mentally) if he’s not getting as much time on the floor as his Torontonian friends. Yes, essentially, the same thing will happen if Parker plays for the Cavs as well, but it hurts a little worse when it’s the guys from the same city getting more minutes than you are. And out of the three (Thompson’s game is more inside, boards and garbage points), it would potentially hurt Bennett if Wiggins comes aboard.
1. It’s Milwaukee. I never been there before, but I mean….come on.
2. The further away from Larry Sanders he is, the better. I don’t want any of Larry Sanders’ knowledge, words, sweat or DNA passed on to him. I don’t even want him to pass Wiggins 1s at the local strip club. The answer is also “Yes” if your question is “Is your bitterness of Sanders because you spent $30 for him in your fantasy draft last Fall?“ The answer is “Yes“. Always “Yes“.
3. Although he has more opportunities to score the ball here than in Cleveland (let’s face it, he’d be the #1 option), no one else is a real threat offensively. I’d like him to play with at least another scoring option, so teams are not loading up on him exclusively. Unless Giannis Antetokounmpo jumps a level across the board (who I like a lot AND grew two inches since last year’s draft) or you can somehow get Dr. Emmett Brown to gas up the DeLorean, drive back to 2006 & kidnap Michael Redd before he blew his knees out.
4. The team doesn’t run, which doesn’t benefit Wiggins athleticism in the open floor.
5. Their PG situation is horrid, and of course, they don’t really have a PG that can help him become better. They are either journeymen PGs who’ve bounced around the league (see Wolters, Nate or Sessions, Ramon), or aren’t really true PGs as it is (see Knight, Brandon).
Ok, we got that out of the way, right? Now here’s why he needs to go to Philly…..
1. The team sucks. BUT they are also a running team & played the fastest pace in all of the NBA. Sure, almost half of the roster was filled with DIII & CIS role players, but they still ran at the very least.
2. Philly has been salivating at the thought of having Wiggins probably since he was a senior in High School. It’s always good to be in the hands of a team that is dying to have you. They will put you in the best position possible. Plus they are a blank slate as a team right now (I mean, look at this season’s roster!). They will also be able to pick up a few veterans to help his progress as well with the unlimited amounts of cap space that they have. He would immediately become the absolute face of the franchise and the #2 scoring option at worst, if not #1 by the start of the season (depending on what they do with Thaddeus Young).
3. As the face of the franchise, the team will look to develop him & put him in the best position to succeed. On a team that runs, who better to pair him up with than ROY Michael Carter Williams, a running PG that loves to pass? Imagine that tall & lengthy backcourt on the fast break running at breakneck speed. Having a PG that not only can run with him, but will know how to create plays for him is so important to his development and to help keep his confidence high.
4. Although you certainly couldn’t tell from last year, I also like the fact that Coach Brett Brown (a Gregg Popovich disciple & a graduate of The Spurs University) gets to mold him. I’m all for anyone from the Spurs University that can assist this young man develop. There’s a reason any coach/executive from the Popovich-Spurs Tree (not including Jacques Vaughan) are successful, or at the very least respected. I’m willing to take my chances with that, than with the options they have in Cleveland or Milwaukee.
5. Most importantly, Wiggins will be in the same division as his hometown team, therefore, Toronto get to see him live four times a year in the division. #Selfishreasons
6. An Even More Important point that Joel Embiid ruined: I think not getting the #1 overall slot secretly provides the chip on his shoulders that Wiggins would need. At the very least, it would be beneficial. His whole career, he’s been viewed as a can’t miss player. Someone who will be drafted #1 overall whatever year he comes out. After a Freshman season that didn’t end well (6 pts vs. Stanford in Round 2 of March Madness) & a season that didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations, somehow not one, but TWO players are getting drafted ahead of him??? If after everything he still goes #1, then everything that happened all season is justified. If the opposite happens, there’s a better chance that missing that #1 slot would piss him off enough that he would make the NBA pay for this slight for the rest of his career. But then Embiid breaks his foot, throws everything into wack, and this whole paragraph will probably become moot. Oh well…
Most importantly is this, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where in the draft you get drafted. It doesn’t matter if Wiggins goes 1st, 2nd, or 23rd, what matters most is that he lands somewhere that best suits his game. No one will care if he went 1st overall if he’s maxing out his potential in the right system & on the right team. Philly needs to select this kid come hell or high water.
SOUTH SHORE AVE’S 2014 MOCK LOTTERY PREDICTIONS
1. Cleveland: Jabari Parker, SF (Duke)
2. Milwaukee: Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG (Kansas)
3. Philadelphia: Dante Exum, PG (Australia)
4. Orlando: Marcus Smart, PG (Oklahoma St.)
5. Utah: Aaron Gordon, PF/SF (Arizona)
6. Boston: Joel Embiid, C (Kansas)
7. L.A. Lakers: Julius Randle, PF (Kentucky)
8. Sacramento: Noah Vonleh, PF (Indiana)
9. Charlotte: Doug McDermott, SF (Creighton)
10. Philadelphia: Gary Harris, SG (Michigan St)
11. Denver: Nik Stauskas, SG (Michigan)
12. Orlando: James Young, SG (Kentucky)
13. Minnesota: Adrien Payne, PF (Michigan St)
14. Phoenix; Elfrid Payton, PG (Louisiana-Lafayette)
New York Knicks fans, you should be happy with what’s happening here. Carmelo Anthony is a great talent, but you can’t tie up the next five years paying him $129M, you just can’t do it if you’re actually trying to remain competitive. It doesn’t matter what he says publicly, Phil Jackson is secretly hoping he bounces too….. With that said, IF Melo is going to leave New York, his best option is Chicago. The team has a great coach, defense is completely solidified, Derrick Rose is coming back (****praying that he’s healthy***), & the 3rd biggest TV market in America. The only thing they are missing is his scoring. Forget Houston & for the love of good, please kill those Miami rumours dead please! I can’t imagine any athlete — much less Carmelo — leaving as much as $75M on the table, which he’ll most likely have to do to head down to Biscayne Bay. That would be insane, although stranger things have happened….. RIP to Shawn “Biggs” Green who suffered a heart attack while playing basketball last Saturday afternoon in Downtown Toronto. Green for those who don’t know was a legend in the Toronto Basketball community. The closest thing to Charles Barkley that I ever seen in person, Green left us too soon at 41 years old. Hope he’s in a better place……
Cal Cee // South Shore Ave