Andrew Wiggins‘ career might drastically change before he plays his first regular season game in the NBA. As it stands now, he would have the opportunity to play alongside the best player in the world, LeBron James. The chance to be mentored by James would be an invaluable experience. He would also be in the same backcourt as All-Star Kyrie Irving for years to come. This scenario would involve deep playoff runs and likely championships.
The other scenario is not so nice.
Wiggins has been rumored to be the decisive piece in the Kevin Love trade. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly assured Wiggins that he will not be involved in any trades. That might be true for the moment, but the chance to get a proven talent like Love could force Cleveland to change their minds.
If Wiggins does get traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves his career will undoubtedly go in a different direction. He will be stuck on a bad team in the loaded Western Conference. He likely wouldn’t have a single playoff appearance by the time his first contract is up. Even if Wiggins reaches his full potential, he will become the latest chapter of All-Star players who try and escape Minnesota.
The difference between the two situations is night and day. In Minnesota, Wiggins would spend the early part of his career trying to shake the stigma of playing for a losing team. He would be spared of that tedious chore in Cleveland. He would be running the fast break with James and Irving instead of Ricky Rubio. Both would likely end up in alley-oops, but the scoreboards would look much different.
Being the number No. 1 pick in the draft usually coincides with going to a bad team. Wiggins staying in Cleveland would provide the rare occurrence of the top pick immediately playing for a championship level team. The most notable comparisons to this would be Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan. Most players have to wait years for their teams to build around them.
Cleveland hit the lottery, but Wiggins might have too. The chance to be in Cleveland, on this team, would be a special opportunity.