Best Potential Landing Spots for Andrew Wiggins in 2014 NBA Draft
Only six or seven teams have a healthy chance to win a lottery position high enough to acquire him, and they would all be glad if they obtained him. But where would Wiggins want to land among these cellar-dwellers? Which team best suits him?
To determine his best fit, we have to account for current talent, playing style, future assets and salary-cap space for free agents. Wiggins needs playing time to gain confidence but not too much responsibility because he's not ready to carry a team.
We broke down a handful of franchises who have a chance to draft the high-flying prodigy. Which team ranked as the best potential landing spot for him?
7. Milwaukee Bucks
Pro: A couple exciting, athletic young teammates
Con: A couple major pieces away from winning, and they won't be able to acquire them
It's electrifying to think about the possibility of Andrew Wiggins and Giannis Antetokounmpo filling the lanes on a fast break. Milwaukee Bucks fans would love to see Kansas' star suit up in red and green.
It's a good fit for the Deer, but is it really the best fit for Wiggins?
The better question might be: Are the Bucks really good for anyone? Larry Drew's boys have looked pitiful in 2013-14 at 9-43, and unfortunately they don't have enough salary-cap room or attractiveness to lure free agents in the near future.
Milwaukee's guard corps doesn't possess the type of prolific passers who will get the most out of Wiggins, so the young leaper's career probably wouldn't start off strong. The Bucks also play at a relatively slow rate (25th in the NBA in pace), so those potential in-game dunk contests between Antetokounmpo and Wiggins wouldn't happen too often.
Sure, guys like Brandon Knight and John Henson are promising young players, but Milwaukee is clearly not the best fit.
6. Orlando Magic
Pro: Promising talent to work with
Con: Logjam at shooting guard/small forward
With rising guards such as Victor Oladipo and Arron Afflalo alongside productive bigs like Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris, the Orlando Magic have some encouraging components.
Each member of that quartet is signed through 2015 or later, so there's a real chance for collective growth. Andrew Wiggins could be a part of an escalating squad, one that isn't attached to big-market pressures or unforgiving fans.
Orlando might not be the perfect fit, however, because it will be a little tricky to give Wiggins a substantial role in the rotation.
From the Magic's perspective, they would find a way to make it work. But Wiggins is a swingman, and the Magic already have several of them, so they wouldn't find enough time early in his career to fully develop him. Afflalo is the established shooting guard, Oladipo spends lots of time as the 2, and Tobias Harris is a small forward as is Maurice Harkless.
If Wiggins was an instant franchise-changer like LeBron James, then obviously the Magic would immediately make him a priority in their nightly game plan. But he's not, so he wouldn't get as much playing time in Orlando as he would elsewhere.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
Pro: Mike D'Antoni's offense and Kobe Bryant's tutelage
Con: Roster changeover brings uncertainty and lack of cohesion
The Los Angeles Lakers aren't the championship-caliber team they were four years ago, and Kobe Bryant isn't the dynamic star he was a year ago. And the Lakers' tradition and pressure might not be the ideal situation for someone like Wiggins.
That being said, head coach Mike D'Antoni would ensure that L.A. runs an uptempo, transitional style that would showcase Wiggins' open-court athleticism and talent. In fast-break scenarios and secondary break offense, he would be a Staples Center favorite.
Working alongside Kobe Bryant for a couple years would be even more beneficial for Wiggins. Both on and off the hardwood, he would get lessons from Kobe that he literally can't get anywhere else in today's NBA.
Wiggins' early success in purple and gold hinges largely on whom the Lakers fill their roster with, as L.A. might have only three or four returnees in 2014-15. It also hinges on whether he's comfortable and ready for the big stage.
4. Sacramento Kings
Pro: DeMarcus Cousins and other young complementary pieces
Con: Losing culture for nine straight years
If he were to join the Sacramento Kings, Andrew Wiggins would have the pleasure of playing with one of the league's best young centers.
DeMarcus Cousins is starting to really hit his stride and enter the prime of his career. The fourth-year big man will propel Sac-town back to relevance if he gains a couple more key helpers.
With Cousins anchoring the paint and Isaiah Thomas initiating the offense, Wiggins could be a highly effective wing and enjoy a fun brand of basketball.
Is there enough veteran guidance on this team to make it a winning unit in the near future? Cousins isn't the most mature centerpiece, and if Rudy Gay departs, there won't be much star leadership.
Sacramento boasts a couple nice basketball players, but it might not be the absolute best environment for a teenager like Wiggins.
3. Boston Celtics
Pro: Brad Stevens and Rajon Rondo
Con: Roster uncertainty, including Rondo's place in the team's future
Running with Rajon Rondo would be tremendous for Andrew Wiggins, especially during Wiggins' first few years in the league. He's the most valuable potential teammate among all the high lottery teams on this list.
Rondo (along with head coach Brad Stevens) would get the most out of Wiggins by setting him up in half-court scenarios and giving him opportunities most other point guards can't bestow. Bleacher Report NBA Draft Lead Writer Jonathan Wasserman explains that he would help the youngster flourish:
In Boston, Wiggins would benefit greatly from having a veteran point guard running the show both on and off the floor. Rajon Rondo is just the type of guard who could help maximize Wiggins' strengths by putting him in the best possible position to use them.
Joining the Celtics isn't without downsides, though. The rest of the team is forgettable, and Rondo himself may not be with the club for much longer.
The star guard is easily Boston's best trading chip, and we all know Danny Ainge isn't afraid to pull the trigger on a big trade if it makes sense. What the Celtics get in return probably won't be as beneficial to Wiggins as Rondo would be.
2. Utah Jazz
Pro: Proven young teammates to mesh with
Con: Still far from contention in loaded West
Utah is one of our top spots for Wiggins because it has proven talent in place, room to fit Wiggins into its plans and salary-cap space to upgrade the roster moving forward.
Derrick Favors is locked up for the long term, and Enes Kanter, Trey Burke and Alec Burks are all signed through 2015 or later, so the Jazz have a solid core to operate with next year. Retaining Gordon Hayward would be nice for the team, but if that doesn't happen, it translates into more cap room for free agents and more playing time for Wiggins.
With Burke and Burks manning the backcourt, and Kanter and Favors supplying the muscle in the post, all Utah is missing is a wing with athleticism and length.
Wiggins could fill those needs, see plenty of touches and play without the pressure of heavy usage. His responsibilities would be relatively modest in relation to his playing time, but he would have a lot of fun with this group.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Pro: Exciting uptempo talent in place, with draft picks and cap space to follow
Con: Extremely inexperienced
The 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers are awful (15-39), there's no getting around it. They probably wouldn't be able to stop the Philadelphia YMCA club.
But in a couple years, they could be dynamite.
In addition to 2013-14 Rookie of the Year favorite Michael Carter-Williams and fellow 2013 draftee Nerlens Noel, Philly has four lottery picks over the next couple drafts. With those assets and only $21.8 million guaranteed on the books in 2014-15 (per ShamSports.com), the Sixers have a chance to stand out in the Eastern Conference.
Andrew Wiggins would excel with MCW, one of the conference's best up-and-coming floor generals, especially because coach Brett Brown's relentless attack leads the NBA in pace. Wiggins will get countless opportunities to make plays in such a high-velocity offense.
It's the combination of playing style and near-future flexibility that make Philly his best potential landing spot.
Dan O'Brien covers the NBA Draft for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter: @DanielO_BR
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