The 2014 NBA Draft will be a historic one for Canadian basketball, with as many as seven players from Canada - three of them as high as the first round - possibly selected. In the days leading up to the draft, TSN.ca and TSN Radio basketball analyst Duane Watson looks at some of the names that will be headlining the event. Tonight, Kansas star Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan, Ontario. Watch the 2014 NBA Draft on TSN, Thursday at 7pm et/4pm pt.
Name: Andrew Wiggins
From: Vaughan, Ontario
Played: University of Kansas
Position: Small Forward
2013-2014 Stats: 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists
Breakout Game: 41 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 blocks in loss to West Virginia on March 8.
Accolades: Big 12 Player of the Year, Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big 12.
Draft Projection: First-overall selection
Comparable NBA player: Paul George
Depending on how intensely you have been following Andrew Wiggins's career, the 2014 NBA Draft is the culmination of years of anticipation. A projected #1 pick before declaring for the University of Kansas, the Toronto-area native has lived with an unwavering level of pomp and circumstance from a young age.
Is the hype justified? There is no way, even if he was the second coming of Michael Jordan, that he could live to those expectations in this information age.
The overwhelming attention pundits have heaped upon him has also led to unwavering analysis of his game over the last year. “Not aggressive enough, limited offensive moves, turns over the ball too much,” etc. While certainly founded for a 19 year old, his case wasn't helped playing in a structured Kansas system with other weapons alongside another potential #1 pick in Joel Embiid.
However, Wiggins has exhibited significant talent, flashes of greatness and tremendous potential with a style of play that will excel at the pro level. The age-old mantra in the NBA is, “You can't teach height,” but the game has shifted more to small ball where big men are not as key. The fact you can't teach athleticism or defence should be looked at, both of which Wiggins has in spades. Elements of his offensive game are raw, but will develop as his mechanics are fine. His build is light, but he will add mass and muscle and while he's explosive off his feet with excellent body control.
Wiggins's physical gifts are beyond reproach - his mental game is the burning question. His casual attitude or passivity on court is what raises doubts among talent evaluators. There are times where he isn't a part of the play and off in a corner as opposed to imposing his will on the game in other ways. Is it a case of boredom or coasting? Either way, that concern is what may separate him from being a top pick or a number two. Does he have the potential to be an elite player? That is the multi-million-dollar question that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be asking themselves on draft day.
If you've followed Wiggins over the years, you likely already have your answer.