Where will Andrew Wiggins begin his career? If it's in Minnesota, bet on some individual hardware coming his way by season's end.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves are playing with the young man's future. The rumors of a deal that would send Wiggins from Cleveland to Minnesota in a package for Kevin Love are out there, per Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN. These things are just part of the business Wiggins will likely be in for the next 12-14 years, or more.
Still, it's hard to imagine how the uncertainty is affecting a 19-year-old who is just trying to prepare himself for his first NBA season.
Wiggins tweeted this popular concept a few weeks ago, and he may have to draw back to its meaning shortly.
He just signed with the Cavs, but all that means is that he can't be traded for 30 days. The Cavs and Wolves can still discuss and agree to a deal that can't be consummated until the 30-day window has expired.
Trading Wiggins for Love is something I've never been a fan of. The Cavs already look good with the roster they have. Why blow it up before at least giving LeBron James and the kids a chance to play together?
Leo Sepkowitz of Slam magazine accurately describes the asset the Cavs now have under contract.
"The Cavs own perhaps the league’s most coveted non-superstar: a 19-year-old athletic marvel locked up for four cheap seasons and likely four more after that."
It's hard to put a value on that. Still, the Cavs are stargazing and attempting to appease the biggest star of all.
Much will change for Wiggins if he lands in Minnesota as opposed to Cleveland. Obviously, he won't have as great of a chance to win right away. The Cavs already have James and Kyrie Irving in place.
Cleveland's roster is arguably the best in the Eastern Conference. The Timberwolves would officially be rebuilding, and that would make Wiggins a major focus of the team from Day 1.
With the Cavs, he'll likely be the third or fourth option when's he on the floor with James and Irving. He'll be an asset to the team because of his all-around game, but he won't be the focus of the team—at least not for some time.
Things would be the total opposite in Minnesota.
There he would likely put up the numbers to garner more Rookie of the Year votes than the Milwaukee Bucks' Jabari Parker and others.
Parker will score as the No. 1 option in Milwaukee, but he won't have the all-around stats Wiggins would in Minnesota.
With the T-Wolves, Wiggins would be asked to score, rebound and defend. He'd basically be looked at as the savior of the franchise.
While he's talented enough to succeed in either role, he'd probably prefer the Cleveland situation. Who wouldn't want to begin their career with a chance to win an NBA championship and contend for years to come with LeBron and Kyrie?
There's also a lot less pressure involved in Cleveland.
That said, there should be some appeal to becoming a building block for something big in Minnesota. With unselfish and talented point guard Ricky Rubio playing alongside him, Wiggins will get his opportunities to score in bunches.
Because he possesses elite athleticism and a passion for play on the defensive end, the young Canadian has the look of a stat sheet-stuffer. He's the type of player who can significantly impact a game even when he's not scoring 20-plus points.
Take this with a grain of salt, but during NBA Summer League play, he struggled from beyond the three-point line. He made just two of 14 attempts from long distance, but he did show the ability to get to the rim and the free-throw line consistently.
More than anything, that skill set is important to a player's scoring potential.
In Wiggins' final appearance in Las Vegas, he made 15 of 20 attempts from the line en route to a 21-point performance.
Unless he's included in a deal for Love, Kevin Martin could be the team's top scorer from the perimeter, and Nikola Pekovic will likely do work in the post. That still leaves plenty of room for Wiggins to shine as a scorer, and most certainly as a defender.
With freedom and responsibility to make mistakes on a young team, Wiggins would be fantastic in Minnesota next season. If the deal ever does happen, expect to see a season filled with stat lines like this: 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.
Match that with stellar on-ball defense on the perimeter and a good number of highlight-reel dunks, and Wiggins would become the league's top rookie next season.
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