Andrew Wiggins' draft stock has seen better days. Try six weeks ago.
His seemingly bulletproof stock has taken a hit since the start of the season. There are a lot more open seats on Wiggins' bandwagon than in October.
For the most part, you can blame that on his stiff competition. While Wiggins still offers No. 1 overall upside, he's not the only one in this field with a franchise-player ceiling.
I like to think of stock watch among top pick candidates as a 30-number roulette table, with each number on the board representing a different NBA team. The goal for each prospect should be to convince as many teams on the board as possible that they're the top prospect. The more teams you cover, the better your odds are of hitting when the dealer spins the wheel—or in this case, conducts the lottery.
You got the feeling Wiggins had everyone (prematurely) convinced—that he had practically each team on the board covered. But after about six weeks of up-and-down play, he no longer has control of it.
Duke's Jabari Parker has moved his way in, convincing many that he's now the top prospect in the country.
"I had never seen a freshman score like him," Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack told Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn, "and I think he can be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft."
Talked to a bunch of NBA guys before the game. The gap has closed between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker for the No. 1 pick.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 20, 2013
Compared to Wiggins, who only has three 20-plus point games through 11 played, Parker has hit the 20-point mark in nine of his first 11. Parker has been more impressive and consistent than Wiggins, whose tendency to take a backseat has raised questions about his potential to emerge as a top gun or go-to weapon.
Andrew Wiggins having another one of those games where you catch yourself wondering if he's even out there.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) December 21, 2013
Parker, along with Kentucky's Julius Randle and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, has been the more dominant player early on.
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Even Kansas center Joel Embiid has generated No. 1 buzz, and it's no joke either. His blend of skills and natural ability is eye-opening, as he appears a lot more ready to play than most had initially anticipated.
"He is a legit threat depending on the team that winds up with the pick," one NBA scout told me.
That's really what the lottery and stock watch is all about for these top prospects. A prospect's stock is only as high as the team on the clock says it is. Each prospect should want to earn his spot atop as many draft boards as possible to maximize his chances of being the top pick.
And there's just no way Wiggins is on top of as many boards as he was to start the year.
He's been struggling to make things happen offensively in the half court. With defenses set and the game slowed down, Wiggins is having trouble identifying and creating his own scoring opportunities. He recently finished 3-of-11 against New Mexico and 3-of-10 against Georgetown and couldn't seem to find or sustain any type of offensive rhythm.
To put it bluntly, Wiggins just isn't as skilled right now as some of the other elite-level prospects.
But what's arguably more concerning than a raw skill set is that lack of visible alpha-dog mentality. While guys like Parker, Randle and Smart have been able to take games into their own hands, Wiggins has seemed more comfortable contributing opportunistically in a supporting role.
With the new year approaching, who's your No. 1 prospect?
This isn't to say Wiggins is a bust or didn't deserve the hype. He's been as dangerous as advertised in the open floor and attacking the rim. He's also playing some terrific lockdown defense, and he's shooting a better-than-expected 35 percent from three to start the year.
Odds are, Wiggins' raw skill set will eventually evolve into a more refined offensive arsenal. The question scouts are asking is whether his approach to the game will evolve with it.
It's a question he won't be able to answer in a one-and-done season at Kansas. And with that uncertainty, along with other options on the board who possess similarly rewarding ceilings, Wiggins is no longer the clear favorite or the obvious once-in-a-decade treasure.
And given that's how he was perceived just two months ago, I'd say his stock has fallen.
Wiggins isn't going to stray from the No. 1 overall conversation—he's just not covering the majority of the NBA roulette board anymore. And that means his odds of being taken first in the draft are slowly decreasing.