Examining Why the Cleveland Cavaliers Should Keep Andrew Wiggins

By Matt Constas
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Four years ago when LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, there wasn’t too much to be excited for in the city. Now, three No. 1 overall picks and a royal return later, the buzz is back and better than ever. One thing to be excited about is the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins. That is, unless they send him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.

Love is a proven stud in the NBA. He averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds per game in 2013-14 and played in his third All-Star game. Trading an unproven Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick for Love and some other players very well could make the Cavaliers not only the favorite in the East, but also a potential Finals favorite. Many people around the league would not hesitate to pull the trigger and complete this trade. I, on the other hand, would consider keeping my ammunition.

Love is one of the top PFs in the league and one of the most dangerous offensive big men out there. Wiggins hasn’t played a single game in his NBA career and his value could be higher now than it ever will be. With potential through the roof, he could also pan out to be an NBA superstar in a few years. This is the most intriguing part, as the Cavaliers would be making this as a win-now move, but would it make winning easier?

Love is a great scorer and rebounder and is an upgrade at the power forward position for the Cavs. Love would play well with James, who had a lot of success with Chris Bosh, a big man who likes to stretch the floor. While Love brings a lot of positives, he also brings some negatives. He has never played in the playoffs before in six seasons. Only five players on the current Cavalier roster have played in the playoffs, so adding Love to the roster will not help in that department.

Love also is not a very good defender and would not give the Cavs any more rim protection than they already have. This may sound bold, but I feel like trading Wiggins and getting Love in return would make their defense worse. Wiggins, at 6-foot-8, is a freak athlete who is more developed defensively than offensively. He could even be the Cavs’ second best defender now, and with his size and skill, he will be able to guard multiple positions. While he is killing it on the defensive end, he can hone his offensive skills around some Cavaliers who already have a lot of skill on that end like James, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

Wiggins would make this team a lot better on defense, and while you think they might be missing the offense Love would bring, think again. These guys already have a lot of offensive fire power. Imagine a fast break with James, Waiters, Irving and Wiggins. Sounds like it would be pretty hard to stop. In the half court, new coach David Blatt will make sure they all get space to create for not only themselves, but for each other. Without Love, this team will be dangerous on offense and tough on defense.

Bennett is another person to consider in this trade. After losing weight and finally getting back to full health, Bennett has an opportunity to come into his own this year and put up Love-like numbers. Look at their college stats. Bennett averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and shot 37.5 percent from three in one year at UNLV. Love averaged 17.5, 10.6 and 35.4 in the same stats, respectively, in his one year at UCLA. These players were similar when entering the NBA and Bennett has the potential to stretch the floor and rebound like Love in a couple of years. He is also stronger and more athletic, so while he may not bring Love-type numbers now or ever, he definitely could have a similar effect. Isn’t that why they chose him with a No. 1 overall pick?

Trading Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins and others is a really interesting proposition. It has caught the attention of the league and rightfully so. This would change the landscape of the league, but the Cavaliers might be better holding on to Wiggins and their depth. The Eastern Conference is weak and they have a chance to do something special this year regardless. Just think about what a couple of years could do to that roster.

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