Andrew Wiggins, surrounded by family, announces he's declaring for the NBA draft.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 31, 2014
Wiggins will more than likely be a lottery pick now that he has officially declared, and there's still a good chance that he goes as the top overall selection. He has superb athleticism and a very high ceiling that will one day make him one of the better players in the NBA.
But "one day" is the operative phrase here. Don't expect Wiggins to be a star from Day 1.
Wiggins' one-year college career will be remembered for an incredible regular season. During his lone year with the Jayhawks, the 6'8", 200-pound swingman dropped 17.1 points and pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.
Nearly every highlight of Kansas basketball featured Wiggins making an athletic play or a game-changing play. He is exceptionally talented.
His career at Kansas will also be remembered for his poor showing in the NCAA tournament, however. He scored 19 points against No. 15 Eastern Kentucky but really failed to show up against Stanford in the third round.
In that game, he dropped just four points on 1-of-6 shooting. He turned the ball over four times and was called for three personal fouls. It was strange to see him shoot just six times, so the fact that he scored only four points is in large part to that number.
Even still, Wiggins appeared tentative during the biggest game of his career.
There really was never debate about Wiggins declaring. He was widely considered one of the top players in the nation all season long.
There's still a lot for him to improve on, however.
Playing well in big games is one thing that NBA teams definitely would have liked to see. Wiggins failed to perform against Stanford. It will end up being his final on-court audition for NBA teams, but luckily for him, it shouldn't alter his draft stock. The team that drafts him will be going by his ceiling—nothing else.
Wiggins himself knows that he needs to improve, via Eric Prisbell and Scott Gleeson of USA Today: "No one's game is perfect, I know I have a lot I have to improve on."
Prisbell and Gleeson also point out that he wasn't always the dominant player he was expected to be:
Throughout the season, Wiggins played the way he often did in high school at Huntington Prep (W.Va.). At times, he showed flashes of offensive brilliance and freakish athletic ability on a balanced Kansas team. At other times, he appeared to blend in or, worse, appear invisible on the court.
Inconsistency is something that can make you a fringe player in the NBA. Wiggins has a high ceiling, but inconsistency can derail that potential.
Will Wiggins be an instant star in the NBA?
I have no doubts that Wiggins will eventually be a star. He's simply too talented. While he might not be the next LeBron James, Wiggins will find himself after a season or two in the NBA.
Wiggins needs to mature as a player and get acclimated to the speed of the NBA. Had he consistently dominated in college, I would have no worries about those things.
But they are legitimate concerns that NBA teams need to recognize. He's too good of a talent to pass up early in the draft, but his new team needs to have realistic expectations for him in his rookie year.