Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins surprised no one today when he announced that he will be declaring for the 2014 NBA draft. His potential as an NBA player has had NBA scouts and general managers salivating at the chance to draft this potential franchise player. Since before he even stepped on the campus of Kansas it was all but certain he would only be a Jayhawk for one year and now it is official.
Andrew Wiggins came into this NCAA season with an unbelievable level of hype about his talent and what he and fellow standout freshman Joel Embiid could do while at Kansas. The expectations were that Wiggins would step onto the court and immediately be the best player in college basketball, while he did not live up to those lofty expectations he did put together a very good freshman season. He quietly averaged 17 points and six rebounds and was a constant threat on the defensive end often guarding the other teams best player. He showed flashes of brilliance but never really dominated his competition as he was expected to coming into the season. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he played on such a talent rich team and coach Bill Self knew he would have to spread the ball around and not just rely on one player’s talent.
Just because Wiggins did not emerge as the countries far and away best players does not mean that NBA teams are any less interested in drafting him. When it comes down to it the NBA draft is more about potential and athleticism than it is about how good a player was in college. Wiggins is the perfect example of this as he has unlimited potential, he is an athletic freak who can score in many different ways and can be a lockdown defender at the small forward position which any NBA team that drafts him will love when they have to face the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony on a nightly basis. He is far from a flawless prospect and will definitely have to get bigger and become more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. As of right now it looks as if Wiggins will be the number one pick come the draft but a lot could change by then.
With his short college career now over Andrew Wiggins will now focus all of his energy on impressing NBA scouts in private workouts. He may not be completely NBA ready but he stands to be a top three pick and another year in college would not do much to improve his draft stock and would only give him more chances to get injured before he starts making money to play basketball. Even though his freshman season did not quite live up to the hype he was able to do something some previous number one recruits coming out of high school have failed to do and that is stay atop draft boards. Last seasons top recruits coming out of high school Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel were not able to do this as their freshman seasons exposed a lot of the flaws in their games causing them to fall in the draft.
Even though Andrew Wiggins declaring for the NBA draft is not a surprise it is big news as now it is official and the NBA scouts who have been raving about him since last summer will get a chance to see if he is the real deal at the combine and in private workouts. Wiggins will be taken high in the draft meaning it will be his job to try to turn around a bad franchise and only the future will tell if he is a true superstar that is up to that task.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius