A Different Kind of Savior

Ever since he was an extremely skinny 14 year old kid,  Andrew Wiggins has been in the spotlight.  Dubbed “the next one” by NBA scouts, he’s been compared to everyone from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James. The comparisons have been made largely because of his skill set and world class athleticism. After a successful high school career, Wiggins took his talents to Kansas to play for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. While attending Kansas, he had a very good and sometimes even great Freshman season, but it hasn’t been enough to live up to the enormous hype.  The masses wanted a Kevin Durant like scoring output, NBA scouts wanted him to take games over, and fans wanted more highlights from him. The comparisons made it a near impossible situation for Wiggins, it seemed that everyone looked at what he isn’t doing more than what he was doing.

Projection is the key when evaluating a prospect in college, too many times these young players are measured as finished products instead of lumps of clay that can be molded. Wiggins first and only season on the collegiate level has been a perfect example of just that. Wiggins is not (at least at this moment in his career)  the big time 25-30 point scorer and that’s fine. Just because he isn’t that at this juncture doesn’t mean he will never be that. Right now, Wiggins is an elite level athlete and he projects to be one of the most athletic players in the NBA from day one. Using his athleticism and quick first step should make Wiggins a terror to stay in front of regardless if it’s a half court setting or in transition.

Defense seems to be his second strongest skill behind the athleticism. Wiggins projects to be a plus defender in the NBA. To give you an example of his impact on that end of the floor in college, Kansas gave up 1.00 points per possession with Wiggins on the floor. That jumps to 1.10 with Wiggins off of the floor. He’s an impact player on defense in college and that shouldn’t change when he gets to the NBA. Part of what makes him a potentially great defender is the physical attributes he’s been blessed with. Standing 6’8, he boasts a 7’0 wingspan and a 44 inch vertical leap. Wiggins is also extremely quick when moving laterally, which should really help him when defending at the next level.

These are just some of the things Andrew can do, of course that’s not the whole story as he has some weaknesses that need to be worked on. If he wishes to reach his full potential moving forward, he’ll have to work on his ball handling, shooting, finishing with contact, and becoming more assertive on the offensive end. There is too much being made about his deficiencies, he’ll learn quickly that he can’t rely sorely on his athleticism in the NBA. He is still far from a finished product, but he brings things to the table that can’t be taught.

As we grow closer to the draft, scouts will begin to break down Wiggins as a prospect. The narratives like he isn’t “the next” guy and how he isn’t a franchise savior because he doesn’t project to come right in and score 20-25 points. There’s more than “one” way to be “the” guy a franchise relies on. Andrew Wiggins can still be a franchise savior, he might look a little different doing it.

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