For all of the hoop dreamers out there pining for Andrew Wiggins' spot, just remember that the reality isn't always as brilliant as the perception.
Wiggins is the latest in a long line of NBA "nexts." NBA comparisons often ease the process of reading prospects' scouting reports, putting a familiar face on the next class of basketball proteges.
But what happens when those comparisons shift from an identifiable role player into a once-in-a-generation talent? When the only box left to toss a rising star into becomes one less defined by specific ability and more outlined in transcendent superstardom?
Seems a bit unfair, doesn't it?
Well, Wiggins agrees.
The leading member of Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self's powerhouse recruiting class, the soft-spoken Wiggins took his first major step under the Big 12's spotlight at the conference's media day on Tuesday. According to ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf, the likely top pick of the 2014 NBA draft did what he could to distance himself from comparisons to current NBA greats LeBron James and Kevin Durant:
I’ve got a long way to go before I can be compared to LeBron and Durant. Those are the best players in the world right now and I’m still in college. So I think it’s really unfair to compare me to someone of that caliber. Hopefully one day I can be compared to them, but I think I still have a long way to go before I can be.
James and Durant (along with Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant) were among the group Wiggins cited as players he'd love to suit up against when he gets to the next level in an exclusive interview with B/R's draft expert Jonathan Wasserman.
An elite athlete and explosive finisher, Wiggins creates dream-like matchups for us imaginative hoops heads. Once he arrives on the NBA stage, he'll have no choice but to embrace those comparisons as they're not going away any time soon.
For now, though, it's important to remember that Wiggins isn't on that level just yet. He's got a full season of college basketball ahead of him and some monstrous shoes to fill in Lawrence, Kan.:
Incredibly, he seems to have the talent to meet or even exceed those lofty expectations. Premature as they might be, they were set for a reason.
As Wiggins readies himself for the full weight of the basketball world to be placed on his shoulders, he'll have to prepare for everything this game has to offer: the good, the bad, the ugly and, yes, even the unfair.