When the Cleveland Cavaliers were awarded the number one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, it almost seemed like there was no way to foul it up. In stark contrast to 2013 when they also had the number one pick, there were too many talented players in this draft class for the Cavs to whiff. Selecting Andrew Wiggins was about as far from whiffing as possible.
Even playing at Kansas where the team-oriented style of basketball reigns supreme, Wiggins still was able to shine through as the potential NBA-star that he was forecasted as when he came out of high school. His offensive game still needs polishing, but his athleticism and abilities as a defender are already at an above-average level even in terms of the NBA rather than college.
Wiggins is in Las Vegas playing with the Cavs’ Summer League team and he’s played quite well. In three contests, the rookie has put up 13.7 points, three rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per game, though he’s shot only 37.8 percent from the floor. His perimeter shooting needs tightening up and he needs to diversify his offense, but he does have NBA-caliber offensive moves already to compliment his physical tools and defensive prowess.
While Wiggins is continuing to begin his NBA career with a world of potential in front of him, he’s also already seeing his name thrown into trade rumors. With the Cavaliers attempting to put together a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for All-Star forward Kevin Love, the two teams haven’t been able to reach a deal just yet. The reason is widely believed to be that Cleveland won’t include Wiggins in a potential trade.
Other reports regarding Love have shown that the Cavs’ front office has told Wiggins that he won’t be moved. Now that LeBron James has joined Kyrie Irving and company in Cleveland, though, the Cavaliers should reconsider the idea of letting Wiggins go.
The idea of potential is easy to buy into for an NBA organization, particularly when said potential is as evident as it is with a guy like Wiggins. However, when you have the best player in the league coming back home in the middle of his prime, potential doesn’t fully capitalize on that. What capitalizes on that is having a proven asset in your system, which is exactly what Love is.
While Love certainly wouldn’t provide the defensive impact that Wiggins will right away, the 25-year-old power forward is one of the most dangerous offensive players at his position and in the league who also happens to be a masterful rebounder. Even on an underachieving team like Minnesota, averaging 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and 37.6 percent from three like Love did last season is of enormous value.
There’s a reason that the Timberwolves aren’t parting with Love for any mildly attractive deal thrown their way. Put in a better situation, Love can be both a lethal, versatile scorer that can also facilitate the offense through his rebounding and outlet passes, as well as in the halfcourt from the high and low post. Pairing a guy like that with a young team that also has LeBron could be other-worldly.
Trading Wiggins is an understandably frightening notion for Cleveland. There’s the chance he could be the league’s next superstar and that chance alone makes a front office hesitant. Despite that, though, the present situation with the Cavs is one that could legitimately compete and win a title (the city’s first in 50-some-odd years) if they were to add another All-Star to the roster. They have the chance to do that by trading for Love. If they want to help LeBron bring a title to Cleveland, Love gives them the best chance to do that in the near future than Wiggins does.