#NBA’s Top 5 Draft Prospects Part 4: Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins is a top-five talent because of his high potential and pure athleticism. I like to consider him a slightly better Ben McLemore, who was drafted no. 7 by the Sacramento Kings and has averaged a lackluster 7.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in his first pro season. McLemore is struggling from the field at 37% shooting overall (stats via Basketball-Reference.com).
But, Wiggins could even end up as a second version of DeMar DeRozan, who at Toronto is averaging 22.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. DeRozan is also shooting 43.2% from the field, 30.5% from 3 and 45.6% from 2 (via Basketball-Reference.com).
Still, Wiggins is an athletic beast. As this announcer said on this monstrous dunk, “Look out!”
Per NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk, Wiggins is averaging 16.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. And, as they pointed out, “For all the criticism that Wiggins has gotten this season, he finished the year as the leading scorer, third-leading rebounder and best defender on a top five team and national title [contender] that won the nation’s toughest conference outright. Not bad.”
Wiggins, as Sports-Reference.com stats show, shot 45.2% from the floor, 50% from 2, 34.5% from 3 and shot 76.5% from the free throw line. In Big 12 conference play, he averaged 17.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shot 76.2% from the free throw line. Wiggins also shot 36.8% from 3, 49% from 2 and 45.2% from the floor overall. Not a bad line at all.
But, I like this take from Hardwood Paroxysm, who compared Wiggins and Parker. The blog said the following about the two:
“Perhaps more important than the quality of each player’s teammates is their quantity. Parker and Wiggins, both 6’8” with broad shoulders (but far different body types), always projected as skilled forwards in college and the NBA despite playing the role of nominal big men in high school. Due mostly to Duke’s discernible lack of size on the interior, that hasn’t changed for Parker; he’s always one of the Blue Devils’s two biggest players on the floor. Wiggins, on the other hand, is a full-time wing for the Jayhawks with players like Embiid and Ellis occupying the paint, a move that requires wholesale adjustment not lost on his head coach.”
The blog also pointed out how both Wiggins and Parker have high usage rates, or how much they have the ball or are used in plays:
“Parker’s rate of 32.5% ranks second in the ACC and 19th in the country; Wiggins’s mark of 25.3% is eighth in the Big 12.”
It is such a great read, and the blog made the point that Jabari is usually one of the two bigger Duke players on the floor while Wiggins shares time and the floor with other big men, forcing him to play on the wing. Wiggins’ coach Bill Self had this to say about his top player:
“[Wiggins] is playing on the perimeter, he’s playing guard,” Self said recently. “He’s never played guard before. There are so many things that go into it that have allowed him probably to be not as comfortable as what a lot of people would expect him to be immediately.”
To be honest, I never thought about how Wiggins is playing on the wing as a guard when he is more natural down low. But, I think NBA teams would want him to play guard, even at 6’8’’. And I trust Bill Self regarding his players because he is such a great college coach and loves his players. He will defend them, but this is a realistic take that I haven’t thought of before.
Yet, I think his potential is through the roof, but I’m more of a ‘safe pick’ guy.