2014 NBA Draft

Andrew Wiggins Will Have Early Success with Cleveland Cavaliers If Taken No. 1

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 11:  Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks waits during a timeout in the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Allen Fieldhouse on January 11, 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2014

There will be plenty of debate leading into the 2014 NBA draft about which top player should be taken with the first overall pick. For Andrew Wiggins, going No. 1 will be extremely important.

Obviously, any player would love to be taken with the first overall pick in a draft. Not only does the selection come with a great deal of prestige and fame, but it also comes with a nice big paycheck as well.

However, Wiggins is the type of prospect who needs to go into the right system in order to succeed. The Cleveland Cavaliers—the squad selecting first overall—would represent the perfect fit for the former Kansas star. The same cannot be said about organizations like the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers or Orlando Magic.

According to Jeff Borzello of CBS, Wiggins is the odds-on favorite to be taken with the first pick by the Cavaliers. Noted experts like ESPN's Chad Ford also predict the small forward to go to Cleveland:

This would be the ideal scenario for the young player, primarily due to the fact that the Cavaliers already have go-to options on the roster.

Kyrie Irving has been an All-Star in each of the past two seasons and has averaged 20.7 points and 5.8 assists in his career. He has become one of the elite point guards in the NBA, and he knows how to create opportunities for others on the offensive end.

Additionally, Dion Waiters has proven the willingness to be a go-to scorer for Cleveland, averaging 15.9 points per game in the 2013-14 season.

These players will remain the primary options on the team while Wiggins works on his development. This is important because the wing is incredibly raw at the moment. According to Ryen Russillo of Grantland, a scout had this to say about the prospect:

He will be lost in an NBA half-court offense. He is great in transition, but he has no ball skills. All right hand, no idea what to do without the ball. He struggles with confidence. He actually reminds me more of Gerald Green than any of these studs he’s compared to. 

He’s an erratic shooter and has no plan when attacking the rim. He will be easy to coach against with his limited game right now. Needs to find out what playing hard is. He tries hard, but I don’t see that second gear. 

Even as the leading scorer at Kansas, he was often very passive in big games. This was seen in a poor performance in his final game against Stanford:

Wiggins finished the NCAA tournament game with just four points on 1-of-6 shooting. While everyone has bad games, it was the lack of assertiveness that was really disappointing.

The good news is that he would not have to be a star right away with Cleveland. When he gets on the floor, he can simply wait until he gets his looks while also excelling on the defensive end of the court.

With the way Irving can distribute the ball, Wiggins could also get points on fast breaks. This is another area where the young player can contribute immediately, as noted by Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated:

Unfortunately, all of this would not be as easy on another squad. A team like the Bucks or 76ers would need Wiggins to contribute early without much other talent around him, and it would likely lead to some inefficient play and poor development for the young player.

The small forward does believe he will succeed no matter where he goes, via Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:

This confidence will likely help him a great deal in his career. However, it is important to know that he is not yet a star, and Cleveland is the only place where he will not be forced into an uncomfortable position. He could help the squad in small ways and hopefully get it to the playoffs.

On the other hand, moving lower in the draft could end up setting him up to fail.

 

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