The Cleveland Cavaliers are no strangers to the NBA draft lottery. Having obtained the number one draft pick for the third time in the last four seasons, the Cavs are hopping Thursday’s pick was its last lottery for the foreseeable future. Andrew Wiggins, the 19 year-old Kansas University freshman was introduced by the Cleveland Cavaliers today. Wiggins is the son of former Houston Rockets shooting guard, Mitchell Wiggins.
Wiggins will play small forward in the NBA as he did throughout his college season for the Jay hawks. The number one overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft is 6’8″ with a 7’0″ wingspan. The combined physical traits of Wiggins, along with his 44 inch vertical give him the potential to become an elite athlete at the NBA level. The standout freshman became the second Canadian player selected as the number one pick in consecutive seasons. Wiggins was chosen by the Cavaliers ahead of fellow freshman sensations Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.
Last season’s top pick and friend Anthony Bennett will become teammates with Wiggins next season. Throughout his high school and college career. Wiggins has been viewed by scouts and analysts as a potential superstar in the league. New Cavaliers head coach David Blatt has high expectations for the forward. The freshman phenom is expected to have a big career in the NBA. Blatt stated that Wiggins is not just a typical “one and done” college freshman, but that the wing will be a “career player in the league.”
The former Huntington Prep star averaged a Kansas record 17.1 points per game last season. However, at times, Wiggins’ overall college performance was somewhat underwhelming considering all the hype that surrounded him. The slender-framed Wiggins did manage to make a consensus Second Team All-American and First Team All Big 12, despite shooting just 42 percent from the field.
The Cavaliers hope Andrew Wiggins’ introduction to the league goes a lot smoother than that of Bennett. The Cavaliers forward was “out of shape” coming into the season, according to his coaches, due in part to an injury recovery. He struggled mildly on both ends of the floor. After a good, but relatively uneven, collegiate performance, Wiggins was likely selected first overall by circumstances beyond his control.
The Cavaliers were reportedly very interested in the services of center Joel Embiid. However, the seven footer suffered a stress fracture in his foot. Stress fractures, particularly with regards the feet of big men, are viewed as more of a concern for teams. Larger front court players are more prone to injuries. Former Houston Rockets All-Star center Yao Ming was forced into early retirement with a similar stress fracture as Embiid.
Wiggins expressed a high level of confidence during his introductory press conference with Cleveland Cavaliers. He has lofty goals of “making the All Defensive Team” and becoming an NBA all-star. Unlike his father who battled with a cocaine addiction and was suspended for two full seasons, Wiggins has steered clear of trouble since entering the spotlight in high school.
Many reports had Wiggins sliding to the second pick in the draft behind Parker. The Duke freshman averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as he went on to win the USBWA 2014 freshmen of the year. He was also voted a consensus first team All-American. A great debate exists in the league over whether the Cavaliers made the right decision to pass on Parker in favor of Wiggins. However, like last season, both players will have to let their games do the talking.
Commentary by Brandon Wright