While owning the first overall pick in the NBA Draft for the third time in four years has its obvious advantages, the Cleveland Cavaliers have found that missed opportunities to add a quality contributor on the big day can endlessly haunt a struggling franchise.
Depending on the source, the general consensus regarding this year’s class seems to agree that Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embid are three of the most promising NBA prospects since the highly-touted class of 2003. But if Cleveland is looking for someone to immediately make a positive impact on the court while helping to erase memories of its most recent draft-day busts, the Cavaliers will have to pass on Wiggins and accept the fact that he’s not the answer for a perennial lottery participant such as themselves.
In terms of raw talent and athletic ability, there’s no denying that Wiggins is at, or near the top of this year’s draft class. However, the NBA has seen countless rookies enter the league with freakish athletic ability before, and it takes much more than that to stay employed among those who play this game for a living.
So what is it exactly that would make Wiggins so toxic to the Cavs? And why wouldn’t his arrival in Cleveland signal the beginning of a resurgence that the franchise has been waiting for since LeBron James bolted for South Beach?
In high school, Wiggins was obviously a dominant scorer and showed a ton of potential on the offensive end of the floor. But in the NCAA, the former Kansas Jayhawk was noticeably lost at times when facing collegiate competition as a freshman, and while he definitely had some huge offensive performances, Wiggins lacked the consistency that made Parker so special.
Throughout last season, Wiggins would sporadically appear almost timid on offense, disappearing into the flow of the game for minutes on end before coming to life on a fast break with a crafty finish. And despite averaging over 32 minutes per contest, the lengthy guard scored less than 10 points on six separate occasions, including a four-point effort in the NCAA tournament against Stanford in his final game as a member of the Jayhawks.
Of course, scoring isn’t everything and Wiggins clearly proved that he can fill the bucket during his only season of college basketball. More importantly, the 6-foot-8 guard brings a ton of talent to the table as a defender and seems to be extremely unselfish. But these skills need time to develop, and despite the potential to one day become a complete threat, a lack of consistency and aggressiveness will get you nowhere in the NBA, and the only remedy is experience.
For a team that’s currently led by 22-year old Kyrie Irving, hasn’t had a winning season in four years, has just two players over the age of 30, and is essentially playing from behind in terms of development following the Anthony Bennett fiasco, Wiggins isn’t the solution. And his arrival wouldn’t help the Cavs anytime soon.
Ty is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @abovethefoldTy.