Andrew Wiggins Must Be Cavaliers' Top Choice in 2014 NBA Draft

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 13:  Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives upcourt as Marcus Smart #33 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys defends during the Big 12 Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game at Sprint Center on March 13, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Even though it's seen as an easy way to rebuild a struggling franchise, owning the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft is also a curse because if you miss on a player that high, you're stuck in limbo for years. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers are no strangers to that spot, picking first for the third time in four years. Even though there is a battle at the top of the draft, this franchise needs to bet on ceiling to get out of the doldrums, which is why Kansas star Andrew Wiggins has to be the choice. 

Joel Embiid would have been the easy choice for the Cavaliers before he fractured his right foot and subsequently had surgery that, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, will require four to six months of recovery time.

With Embiid out of the mix for the top selection, Wiggins and Duke star Jabari Parker make the most sense to be Cleveland's next great hope for the future. Parker has that immediate-impact potential that will satisfy fans.

The Cavaliers did work out Parker on Friday, which Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported was a mixed bag. 

Wiggins had his day in Cleveland 24 hours earlier, which Spears also reported on and noted how well he looked shooting the ball. 

Despite those respective workouts,'s Chad Ford (subscription required) had an interesting note about the Cavaliers' draft board:

Wiggins has never really been atop the Cavs' Big Board this year. However, a source close to the team predicted to me on lottery night that it'd eventually work its way to Wiggins. Embiid was a risk and too far away. Parker was ready now but didn't help them in the areas they needed help. Wiggins was the compromise candidate -- upside plus the ability to make an impact now, especially on the defensive end.

Parker is an impact scorer who doesn't offer much help on defense. He also plays the same position as last year's top pick, Anthony Bennett. Say what you want about Bennett, but the Cavaliers have to give him another year to see if they can get anything out of him. 

Wiggins didn't always play like the No. 1 pick during his freshman season at Kansas. He had just four points on 1-of-6 shooting against Stanford in the NCAA tournament and had five other games where he failed to score at least 10 points. 

Despite those inconsistencies, Wiggins is a long, athletic, versatile player who is just 19 years old with all the upside in the world. That's what the Cavaliers need to be drafting instead of someone whose ceiling isn't as high because they want better results immediately.

You can see how fragile the No. 1 pick is by looking at the team's last two No. 1 picks. Kyrie Irving is one of the best point guards in basketball, an annual All-Star and a worthy successor to LeBron James in Cleveland. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Bennett looked like a bust from the start. He averaged a paltry 4.2 points and three rebounds per game while shooting 35.6 percent from the floor. 

Parker and Wiggins have very little chance of turning into a Bennett-sized bust as rookies, but if the Cavaliers want to hit big like they did with Irving in 2011, Wiggins is the right player to take.