In what has been called one of the better draft classes in recent memory, many of the NBA teams are gearing up by tanking. This includes my team the Philadelphia 76ers. Since the 2001 magical run, aside from one season in 2011 where they were 4 minutes from defeating the Boston Celtics in game 7 of the semifinals, the past 13 years have been mediocre. The 76ers have never been good enough to make a run and never bad enough to rebuild. They have been stuck in purgatory. They did have one year where they selected number 2 and drafted Evan Turner which has not been the franchise jump start they needed.
Therefore, I have been rooting against the 76ers this year, and carefully watching the college season. All the hype surrounded Andrew Wiggins as the next big thing. He showed flashes early scoring 22 points against fellow freshman Jabari Parker and the #4 ranked Blue Devils. After that game, the hype began turning to scrutiny. I have seen many mock drafts and heard many analysts question Wiggins game. Many of the mocks have had Wiggins fall from the top spot. I’m not a basketball scout and don’t proclaim to be but I just don’t see what is now being said about him. Taking nothing away from the other prospects, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Joel Embiid, they have all been fantastic. However, Andrew Wiggins is still my consensus number 1 and the guy I hope is playing down the street next year.
Wiggins is listed at 6-8 200lbs. I would be surprised if he was 200lbs but certainly his frame will fill out. He is still 18 years old and will not turn 19 for three more weeks. He has not even come close to reaching his maximum potential. A scouting report I recently read indicated that he is tremendously gifted athletically, can create his own shot, has good range and a quick release. The knocks on his game are complacency, strength, ball handling, and lacks the physicality. While I agree with the criticisms from what I have seen of the kid, those all can remedied on someone who I believe hasn’t tapped his potential.
With the recent criticisms, I decided to go back the past 10 years and look where he stacks up statistically with the top 2 recruits nationally each year. Shown below are the #1 and #2 recruits yearly since 03 with their freshman year college stats displaying points, rebounds, assists respectively.
Lebron James- declared for NBA draft. Selected #1 overall
Luol Deng- 37 games. 15.1ppg/ 6.9rpg/ 1.8apg. Selected #7 overall
Shaun Livingston- declared for NBA draft. Selected #4 overall
Dwight Howard- declared for NBA draft. Selected #1 overall
Josh McRoberts- 36 games. 8.7ppg/ 5.3rpg/ 1.5apg. Selected #7 overall
Gerald Green- declared for NBA draft. Selected #18 overall
Greg Oden- 32 games. 15.7ppg/ 9.6rpg/ 0.7apg. Selected #1 overall
Kevin Durant- 35 games. 25.8ppg/ 11.1rpg/ 1.3apg. Selected #2 overall
OJ Mayo- 33 games. 20.7ppg/ 4.5rpg/ 3.3apg. Selected #3 overall
Michael Beasley- 33 games. 26.2ppg/ 12.4rpg/ 1.2apg. Selected #2 overall
Brandon Jennings- played 1 year in Europe. Selected #10 overall
Samardo Samuels- 37 games. 11.8ppg/ 4.9rpg/ 0.9apg. Undrafted
Derrick Favors- 36 games. 12.4ppg/ 8.4rpg/ 1.0apg. Selected #3 overall
John Wall- 37 games. 16.4ppg/ 4.3rpg/ 6.5apg. Selected #1 overall
Harrison Barnes- 37 games. 15.6ppg/ 5.8rpg/ 1.3apg. Selected #7 overall
Kyrie Irving- 11 games. 17.5ppg/ 3.4rpg/ 4.3apg. Selected #1 overall
Anthony Davis- 40 games. 14.2ppg/ 10.4rpg/ 1.3apg. Selected #1 overall
Andre Drummond- 34 games. 10.0ppg/ 7.6rpg/ 0.4apg. Selected #9 overall
Nerlens Noel- 24 games. 10.5ppg/ 9.5rpg/ 1.6apg. Selected #6 overall
Shabazz Muhammad- 32 games. 17.9ppg/ 5.2rpg/ 0.8apg. Selected #14 overall
Average- 15.9ppg/ 6.9rpg/ 1.8apg
Andrew Wiggins Stats- 21 games. 16.0ppg/ 6.0rpg/ 1.5apg.
To compare him with other current “franchise players”
Jabari Parker- 22 games. 18.6ppg/ 8.2rpg/ 1.3apg
Julius Randle- 21 games. 16.1ppg/ 10.1rpg/ 1.8apg
Joel Embiid- 21 games. 11.2ppg/ 7.7rpg/ 1.4apg
Marcus Smart- 21 games. 17.2ppg/ 5.7rpg/ 4.5apg
Andrew Wiggins may not be meeting the expectations that were set for him. But, he is not very far off from other top players in looking at the stats. I am of the mindset to draft on potential, and I think that Wiggins still has so much more to tap into and is going to continue to get better. As a 76er fan, I would not complain with some of the other guys but Andrew Wiggins is my crowned jewel. He is the guy that I believe is a franchise changer that will lead a team out of purgatory into the Promised Land.