2014 NBA Draft: Potential Andrew Wiggins-Zach LaVine Combo Too Good For Philadelphia 76ers To Pass Up

By Michael Walton
Zach LaVine
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SPORTS

The Philadelphia 76ers are looking to greatly improve their team through the NBA draft; specifically, they want to acquire two potential starters with No. 3 and No. 10 picks. In a very possible dream scenario, the Sixers have the rare chance to add two high-ceiling prospects who fit their system.

With the No. 3 pick, it is looking more and more like the Sixers will have the coveted Andrew Wiggins fall into their laps. Wiggins will be an excellent addition to the Sixers. He would immediately be Philly’s best perimeter defender, and he and Nerlens Noel would provide a great 1-2 punch on defense. But it is his offensive game that needs some more polish.

Wiggins is impressive because he lacks the necessary aggression to be a team’s No. 1 option on offense, yet he still lead his team in scoring with 17.1 points per game. Part of this was because of Wiggins converting around 71 percent of his transition baskets. Simply put, when he gets out and runs, he is nearly unstoppable. With Michael Carter-Williams and Wiggins running the break, the Sixers would be one dynamic athlete away from a scintillating fast-break attack.

That’s where Zach LaVine comes in. LaVine has had his draft stock fluctuate more than any player in this year’s draft class. After some excellent workouts, he is now projected to go somewhere after the first five or six picks. If he is there at pick No. 10, the Sixers would be foolish not to pick him up.

LaVine has already proven that he can shoot the rock, as evidenced by his 37.5 percent three-point shooting. His shooting form is also nice and easily replicable. Where LaVine blew everyone away was his Los Angeles Lakers pre-draft workout. LaVine excelled in may of the exercises, but he shocked everyone when he showed off an impressive 46-inch vertical leap. The only vertical leap close to his is none other than Wiggins, who had a reported 44-inch vert.

Where LaVine separates himself from Wiggins is turnover rate. They played way different minutes during the season, so it is necessary to look at their numbers side-by-side on a per 40 minutes basis. Per 40 minutes Wiggins averaged 2.8 turnovers, while LaVine averaged 1.9. That number may not seem significant, but it is.

The fact that LaVine turns the ball over so little means that while he would be able to slide in the 2-guard spot for the Sixers, he could also use his versatility to provide Philly with an interesting backup point guard. No matter who they draft, the Sixers will be a young team on the rise in the near future. But if they draft both Wiggins and LaVine, they will get to elite-level athletes who will provide them with depth on the wings. A potential starting five of MCW, LaVine, Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Noel would give Coach Brett Brown the perfect combo of players for the team with the highest pace in the league.

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