2014 NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Andrew Wiggins

Who's going to be doing #RigginForWiggins?
USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I admit it, I am obsessed with the NBA Draft and scouting prospects year-round. The 2014 draft class has been compared to the mega-class that was 2003, which included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. This upcoming draft class can match that and even top it, if they all live up to their potential.

First up in my year-long series is Andrew Wiggins, who everybody is calling the Canadian LeBron James.

Wiggins is attending Kansas this season. He chose the Jayhawks over Kentucky, Florida State, Ohio State, North Carolina, Duke, and Syracuse. Below, I will analyze Wiggins' pros and cons. Also, I will overview his game and give a pro comparison for his NBA future (media provided by Bleacher Report). Thanks to coaches from CIA Bounce (Wiggins' AAU team) and Huntington Prep (Wiggins' high school team in West Virginia) for providing me film off of hard drives over email, as I requested. There was hours of tape to look at, which helped my scouting report a ton.

Pros

As you see above in those two examples, Wiggins jumping ability gives you ooh's and aah's.

Vertical Leap Comparison: Julius Erving

Shot Blocking/Explosion

Wiggins trails Kentucky commit, Randle from the side and then uses his long 7'0" wingspan to swat the ball back and deny his dunk attempt. Andrew then takes one power hop toward the point guard's layup and obliterates the shot back to the opposing bench. Simply put, Wiggins defensive ability for a small forward is hampered by his little strength, but they still are one of the best I have seen in recent memory on film. I was tempted to compare Wiggins to LeBron in this category, but with LeBron's chase-down abilities I had to go with one of his current teammates instead.

Shot Blocking/Explosion Comparison: Dwyane Wade

Attacking The Rim

First, Wiggins sends the small point guard flying to the left with a nasty crossover on the three-point line. Then, Wiggins sends the big man flying to the right reaching for him with what could be the greatest EuroStep I have seen in a long, long time. His moves are the best for a small forward or even shooting guard in the past decade.

Here is another one of Wiggins' vicious EuroSteps. Simply dirty, folks.

Also, look at the next best move in Wiggins' arsenal: the spin move. Look below at how Wiggins crosses up a point guard, calls out a screen, and then spins past the big man.

I can not remember a forward with this much handles and moves, in this millennium honestly. Wiggins is a special prospect when the ball is in his hands either in transition, fast breaks, or even on designed plays to the basket. He is great in all facets of this area.

If you are looking for an area which is Wiggins' best, attacking the rim in different ways could be exactly it.

Attacking The Rim Comparison: Dwyane Wade

The Clutch Gene

In a lot of Wiggins' games this season, you saw him have the ball in his hands and call off all his teammates in the last seconds of a quarter, and usually makes it. That is what you call having the clutch gene, folks. I saw Wiggins many times on film for either CIA Bounce or Huntington Prep call isolations on the perimeter for him self and nobody could stop him from winning the game in the end. The other option was catch-and-shoot at the end of the game as well. Maybe Wiggins was not the best from the perimeter, but he had that clutch gene to make any shot on the floor at the end of the game. Look below at Wiggins make a buzzer-beating shot at the end of the first quarter in front of LeBron at the LeBron James Skills Academy and also a shot for CIA Bounce at the Peach Jam.

Now, check out Wiggins hit a step-up shot from mid-range, while being double-teamed at the buzzer.

Many other games I was provided over email hard-drive by AAU coaches on Wiggins' games, he made a ton of buzzer-beaters. He has the 'it' factor all NBA superstars have. Kobe Bryant has it, Dwyane Wade has it, LeBron has it, and I truly believe Wiggins also has it. I fully expect Wiggins to make tons of buzzer-beaters at Kansas next season, but also in the NBA during the 2014-2015 season.

The Clutch Gene Comparison: Kobe Bryant

Rebounding

Rebounding Comparison: LeBron James

Bonus: Pyramid of Athleticism

In a piece done by NBA Draft expert, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, he shows how Wiggins should be in the NBA next year, based on athleticism alone.

Per Wasserman's numbers, Wiggins should already be top three in the NBA at forward, in the 2014-2015 season. Wiggins' athleticism proves that point well, actually. By the numbers, Wiggins should be even better than Paul George, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith, and others. Wasserman's Pyramid of Athleticism could be debated, but he makes a great point with Wiggins on this. Outside of LeBron and Blake Griffin, nobody in the NBA will be more athletic at forward than the Canadian superstar, once he hits the NBA.

Cons

Mid-Range Game

Mid-Range Game Comparison (Con): LeBron James

Shooting Mechanics

The Canadian high school superstar will need to improve basic mechanics in his shot to reach his full, sky-high potential. Just some basic hitches in his shot need to be improved for him to consistently hit both jump-shots and free throws. Wiggins shot 61-percent from the charity stripe, while at Huntington Prep. I expect that number to jump up to around 75% while at Kansas, with a coach dedicated to fixing mechanics in Bill Self. Below, is a GIF on Wiggins' shot mechanics on a free-throw shot.

As I said before, expect Andrew Wiggins to improve his shot a ton at Kansas with Bill Self as his coach.

Shooting Mechanics Comparison (Con): LeBron James

Overall Player Comparison: Dwyane Wade

After watching Wiggins' tape from AAU season for CIA Bounce and at Huntington Prep, I have called Wiggins a more athletically gifted version of Wade. I believe the comparisons between LeBron and Wiggins are a little overboard. They honestly are more similar in cons than in pros. Both needed to fix their shot and have Hall of Fame potential.

Just like how LeBron is compared to Michael Jordan, which honestly does not make much sense to me, Wiggins being compared to LeBron is the same. I think Larry Bird is more realistic for LeBron, while Wiggins is more an all-around better version of Dwyane Wade.

Thanks to Bleacher Report for the GIFs provided for this article. This will be a weekly thing until we hit the draft in June 2014. Let me know your thoughts on my scouting report on Wiggins below!

Comments

Larry Bird????

That’s a hilarious comparison. This is a good idea for a series though, I think I will enjoy this.

Go to basketball reference and compare Bird and LeBron

Point will be proven there

The Wiggins piece caught my eye and I’m glad I read it. It was entertaining and I’ve decided to join this blog as a result.

However, I just want to say that I would assume Crean and Crimson doesn’t find fault with the likeness of their stats (they are quite similar), but rather the way in which each player produced their numbers.

Thats what I meant

I wasn’t thinking about stats wise

I've made this same comp many times to people

Bird is a better comp for James than Jordan is. Obviously not as far as physical gifts go, but the numbers, situation, and results match up better. Nice write up, enjoyed reading!!

Rec'd, green for truth

Seeing LeBron compared to Bird makes my eyes bleed. Larry Legend wasn’t half the athlete LeBron is, but Larry was 5x better at everything else. The numbers may be comparable, but the players are night and day, even without taking account of the “crab dribble” and the “LeBron can’t commit fouls” stuff, or the fact Larry Bird was the MVP playing at the same time as Magic, Kareem, Olajuwon, Jordan, Isiah and facing the great 80s teams.

Back to Wiggins, good piece, really enjoyed it, but I think Wiggins will be better than Wade. To me, he’ll be a “serious” Vince Carter, that is, a super gifted offensive player like Vince, but commited to Defense and team play. I can’t find a better comparison, but this kid will be special.

Very excellent piece, Evan.

Major rec.

Love the piece and series

The kid should be a good/great NBA player if hype is any indication, sadly it’s not. How good he is, or How good anyone is comes down to two things. The health and mental game. Until I know what this kid is like off the court I can’t know how successful he will be on it.

I mean look at Dwight Howard, now with his third team because he just doesn’t seem to have the mental game down.
Larry Bird, was a killer, had the mental game down, and did more with physically less until his health failed him.

I mean how many more true superstars would the league have if guys like Andrew Bynum could get his mental game in check.

Also I dunno if I like the athleticism pyramid. It’s not a 1 stat fits all system.

Did that pyramid guy fucking smoke crack?

In what world is blake griffin a tier above Paul George in athleticism? Would be laughable were it not so dangerously stupid.

That could be taking weight/size into account

It is certainly more impressive that Griffin can do the things he does at 250 lbs than what PG can do at less than 220 IMO.

it’s not like Griffin is Kurt Thomas or something…

No

Griffin is a superior athlete for sure, while George surpassed him as an overall player this past year (not too difficult as Griffin is overrated). I don’t know about Gay being on par with George though.

Vertical leap+quickness+strength+considering size

Blake is clearly on top

I'll become interested when we get to players I actually believe we could get.

I hope we can get back into the first round, otherwise I’ll be waiting awhile.

I was actually thinking the same thing.

No offense, Evan.

It's just a year-round thing folks

My hobby. Do about 50 + prospects throughout. Should reach the guy you’re looking at this year. Wiggins is a good place to start. Going down my initial big board.

Completely agree with what both are you saying though

Just going down big board so I don’t lose track.

12% of people don't know basketball

This kid is not hype.

As both a Kansas and Pacers fan

I really hope he does amazing on the Jayhawks and then gets drafted by the Pacers. Would be the best thing ever.

Not so sure - will withhold judgement until I see him in college

I was sure with Lebron, I was sure with Paul Pierce, I was sure with Durant. I was sure with Shaq. I was sure with Duncan I wasn’t sure about Kobe (my mistake :))
I haven’t seen enough of Wiggins only the few all star games. As was said he has no mid range and needs work on his outside shot. He isn’t a beast like Lebron

There have been plenty of great athletes who have not become superstars. Some become good or very good players and some don’t make it.

Often there is one or two players (or none) who are clearly the only potential NBA stars in a draft year. And rarely more than 5 that you think are guarantees to be very good.

I think the 2014 draft is very deep in the top 12 which is unusual and it isn’t obvious to me at this time that Wiggins is going to be head and shoulders above some of the other players. I think it is very possible that the player drafted 10 will turn out to be the best in the draft.

As a side note Orson Scott Card wrote a science fiction series where the main character was named Andrew Wiggins (his nickname was Ender)

Movie comes out this fall.

I haven't seen the kid enough but I'm of the opinion that's while shooters are made...

there still has to be a gene born in them and I’m not sure this kid has it. Now he may be such an athletic and physically dominating beast like Lebron that all he shoots are wide open set shots. If that’s the case, then he’s good but idk if he’s gonna get there…

View All Comments
Back to top ↑