Andrew Wiggins' Biggest Competition to Become No. 1 Pick in NBA Draft

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

USA Today

Even if you do live under a rock, you have probably heard of Andrew Wiggins by this point.

The college basketball phenom dominated headlines this summer when he decided which school he would be attending and was compared to the likes of LeBron James before even stepping on a court at the collegiate level.

Many assume he will be the top pick in the upcoming NBA draft and have felt that way since before the actual college campaign kicked off. Grantland’s Bill Simmons even coined the term, "Riggin' for Wiggins," to describe contests between the NBA's worst teams that could improve their draft stocks by losing intentionally:

Thus far in the college basketball season, Wiggins hasn't disappointed. He is averaging better than 14 points, nearly six rebounds a game and more than a steal a night. Wiggins also made the critical plays down the stretch at the Champions Classic against fellow freshman superstar Jabari Parker and Duke.

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks smiles after a win over the Duke Blue Devils during the State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center on November 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Kansas defeated Duke 94-83.  (Photo b
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

But it is more than just Wiggins' stats that have him primed to potentially be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. He is the type of versatile and athletic stretch forward who combines speed in the open floor, an explosive first step and size to challenge at the rim that scouts drool over. He has shooting range that extends beyond the three-point line and is formidable on the defensive end.

However, Wiggins is far from a lock to be the first pick in the upcoming NBA draft. There is so much talent across the college landscape, there are bound to be other stars that capture the eyes of scouts and teams.

Recently, Matt Moore of CBS Sports compiled a mock draft that had Wiggins going No. 2 behind Parker. Parker has put up better stats than Wiggins thus far despite Wiggins' head-to-head victory, and he is arguably even more explosive than the Kansas star.

Former NBA player Steve Kerr even came up with his own catchphrase for NBA teams positioning themselves to get Parker instead of Wiggins:

So if Wiggins' top competition to be the next No. 1 pick is Parker, who else is in the running? Names such as Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, Joel Embiid and even Montrezl Harrell immediately come to mind, many of which are freshmen themselves.

Ultimately, the needs of whichever team selects first could determine who is the top pick of the draft. Parker and Wiggins fill similar roles; Smart is an explosive ball-handler and defender from the guard position; and Randle, Gordon, Vonleh and Embiid are all dominant and physical interior post players.

Whether Wiggins goes No. 1 overall remains to be seen, but Jayhawk fans are certainly in no rush to find out. They like him just fine where he is right now.


Follow and interact with college basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.