NBA Draft 2014 Scouting Profile: Andrew Wiggins

Jamie Squire

Our series of draft profiles continues with Kansas star Andrew Wiggins, a polarizing favorite for the top selection.

Andrew Wiggins

NBA Position: SF

General Information: 19 year old Freshman, played at the University of Kansas. From Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Measurables: 6'8, 197 lbs, 7'0 wingspan. Did not participate in the NBA combine, measurables were from the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit.

2013-14 Season Statistics: 17.1 PPG, 1.5 APG, 5.9 RPG, 2.3 TPG (32.8 Minutes per contest) - 44.8% FG, 77.5% FT, 34.1% 3P, 56.3% TSP

Summary: A lock for a top three selection, Wiggins is a once-in-a-generation type athlete with an improving feel for the game and excellent scoring potential. While he was rightly criticized in college for inconsistent play, he's got the highest ceiling of anyone in the class (in my opinion, even higher than teammate Joel Embiid) and I would take him given the top pick

Offensive Breakdown: Let's get the bad out of the way first: Wiggins looked awfully passive at times over the season. These struggles were a tad overplayed by the collective narrative, but they were there; he'd shy away from his role of being the offense's focal point, a worrisome problem no matter how infrequent for a scoring star. This is the biggest concern about his game going forward, and as is it with any "issue" connected a player's mentality, it's impossible to predict how it'll play out.

His other offensive problem is he isn't a great three point shooteryet. 34.1% from three isn't terrible, but he's streaky the further out you get from the basket. 29% of his shots were from three, and he'd often get too trigger happy from distance. Generally though he wasn't stopping the offense in order to jack up threes; 76% of his made threes were assisted. Wiggins normally got good separation on his jump shots with his quick dribble, but when that didn't work he relied on an inconsistent fadeaway.

Other than that, there isn't much to dislike about his offense, and a ton to love about it. Wiggins is a dynamite force driving to the basket, and he completed 63.6% of his shots at the rim. He'll have to adapt his drives to cope with the more athletic NBA talent he'll face, and learn when to pass the ball out of penetration.

His offensive IQ isn't at the level of Jabari Parker, but it's certainly not average for a 19 year old. He showed good off-the-ball movements and awareness, and Kansas' offense was built for him to handle the ball as much as possible. His turnover rate was 13.1%, which isn't overly concerning considering his role.

Defensive Breakdown: I believe the most unfounded critique on Wiggins' game is his defense, but Wiggins is already an NBA level defender. He shows better defensive awareness then most incoming scoring stars, and his physical gifts make him a very good cover.

Joel Embiid gets justified hype for his defensive potential, but with Wiggins' length, awareness, athleticism and effort levels his own potential can't be undersold. He's not a fully in-your-face defender, but he plays physical and doesn't back off against bigger opponents. He is versatile and should be able to guard multiple positions, but he will need to continue to bulk up for bigger opponents. He won't be ready to lock down LeBron James immediately, but his NBA transition shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Wiggins is also a solid rebounder for a small forward, and should continue to improve as he gets stronger. His athleticism gives him a huge edge on the glass, and he isn't afraid battle against much bigger opponents. He isn't as good a rebound as Jabari Parker (Parker's rebounding rate of 19.3% nearly double's Wiggins 10.4%), but Wiggins is tough enough to be a threat at the three.

Intangibles: Wiggins came into college with enough hype to rival 2003 LeBron James. With that level of media attention, anything less than a National Championship was doomed to be considered a "disappointment". Given these massive expectations, Wiggins handled himself with poise on and off the court.

There's no denying that Wiggins was inconsistent at times, and I understand why his issues might scare some away with such a talented draft class around him. Given his age and the ungodly expectations placed on him, though, I'm not worried that any passiveness is a big long-term issues. His struggles were easier to make stories out of, but his passive moments did not outnumber the moments where he carried his team offensively.

Someone this highly skilled at both ends of the court with insane top-notch athleticism should not fall below No. 2 in this draft. The only contender for the top spot with Wiggins should be Embiid, and I think anyone who'd choose Parker or Dante Exum over Wiggins would regret it in three/four seasons.

Fit with Sacramento: Last Tuesday, the Kings had a 9.2% chance of landing Wiggins (the combined odds of landing a top 2 pick). Now there is 0.000001% chance Wiggins wears a Kings jersey next season, with that infinitesimally small number representing the chance that Wiggins is secretly a closet Kings fan and refuses to play with anyone not named DeMarcus Cousins.

I will not fill our heads with any further pipedreams; Wiggins is a talent you fit your team around, and not the other way around. He'd have given the Kings a shot at a true two-way superstar, would have helped put Sacramento back on the world's basketball map, and allowed me to fulfill the long-held dream of owning an "Ender's Game" Kings jersey.

But that isn't going to happen. Here's hoping Cleveland or Milwaukee the best with their future star.


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