Report: Philadelphia 76ers 'Covet' Andrew Wiggins with No. 3 Pick in 2014 Draft

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2014

Mar 13, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Andrew Wiggins (22) laughs while on the foul line during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second round of the Big 12 Conference college basketball tournament at Sprint Center. Kansas won 77-70 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA draft isn't until June 26, but the Philadelphia 76ers are all ready to turn in their pick.

The only problem is that Philly isn't on the clock and won't be until two other teams have made their selections.

That wouldn't seem to be an issue since the top of this class has long been defined by the strength of three players: Joel Embiid (Kansas), Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). A top-three pick in the eyes of many presents a can't-lose situation.

But Philly does not hold all three players in the same regard. A source told Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix that "the Sixers covet Wiggins."

Despite a relatively sluggish start, Wiggins' freshman campaign with the Jayhawks certainly left plenty to covet.

"It took a few months, but Wiggins really came around by the end of this season," Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote. "And he ultimately confirmed our initial belief—he's a superhero athlete with gigantic two-way upside for a wing."

That's the good news for Philly fans. The player this team desires is one worth desiring.

The bad news, though, is that Wiggins might not be available when the Sixers make their selection.

Despite finishing the 2013-14 campaign with the league's second-worst record (19-63), Philadelphia slipped back to the No. 3 spot when the Cleveland Cavaliers struck draft lottery gold for the third time in the last four years.

Falling one rung on the draft ladder could feel like a massive dive for the Sixers. Both Mannix and Wasserman have Wiggins coming off the board at the No. 2 spot—where the numbers say Philly should have been drafting—to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Now, there are far worse consolation prizes than the offensively versatile Parker. The Sixers finished dead last in offensive efficiency (96.8 points per 100 possessions), via, so there's an obvious need for Parker and his 19.1 points-per-game scoring average.

But Parker isn't Wiggins, a player ESPN Insider Chad Ford (subscription required) reported in March that the Sixers have had "atop their board all year." Parker boasts an NBA-ready set of skills, but the patiently rebuilding Sixers seem more interested in Wiggins' long-term ceiling.

But Wiggins' NBA future could be decided before the Sixers can make their selection. There's a chance his name could be the first one called on draft night.

"He's the most spectacular talent in the draft," ESPN's Tom Ford told Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. "He dazzles with his talent...You get the tingles when you see him at times."

That sounds like someone the Sixers could use, but the point becomes moot if either the Cavs or the Bucks see Wiggins in the same light. Considering the highlight reels he left behind at Kansas, it's far from a stretch to imagine the athletic phenom is sitting atop plenty of draft boards.