What Makes Andrew Wiggins One of Most Hyped NBA Prospects Since LeBron James?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJuly 30, 2013

Whether he deserves it or not, Andrew Wiggins is one of the most hyped NBA prospects since LeBron James

Hype is tough to control. Sometimes, it's warranted; other times, it's just the result of a desire for something new or an irresponsible imagination. It's only natural for the public to want another star to emerge. And Wiggins makes it easy for us to believe the hype is real.

That's because he's capable of making plays that simply can't be duplicated. The 5-star commit to Kansas is a jaw-dropper. With maximum natural ability, a two-way skill set and a strong head on his shoulders, Wiggins' potential is limitless.

So what is it about this "natural ability" that makes this kid so special? The name of the game for elite athletes like Wiggins is easy buckets and converting difficult scoring angles into easy looks.

The NBA's top-scoring athletes are tough to stop from separating, finishing and getting to the line. Their explosiveness allows them to soar over the traffic as opposed to most, who are forced to navigate through it.

Wiggins would immediately enter the NBA as one of the premiere athletes in the league, but for now we'll just compare him with others at his position. LeBron James stands alone, given the size, mass and strength he adds to it.

Other than James, Wiggins would sit in a tier along with Blake Griffin in terms of natural athleticism for a forward. I'd rank him as a top-three athlete amongst rotational 3s and 4s, assuming he adds a few pounds to his 6'8", 205-pound frame between now and 2014.

Guys like Kevin Durant, Paul George and Josh Smith are all phenomenal athletes, but Wiggins has 'em beat. He's got effortless lift, along with the balance, footwork, speed and agility to carve his way through gaps and rise above challengers.

Andrew Wiggins dad played at Florida State and his mom was an Olympic medal winner for Canada in 4x400. Perfect storm of genes

— Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) May 2, 2012

While Wiggins has the touch and finesse to place shots over rim protectors, he's also got the bounce to sky above them and throw down over the top. 

While most players dunk on the way up to the rim, Wiggins dunks on the way down.

I know that seems simple and even somewhat insignificant, but it's not. The higher a player can elevate, the easier it is to separate. And the more separation, the easier it is to convert on the perimeter or finish inside.

Wiggins has the potential to be one of the Association's top scorers if he can reach his NBA ceiling. Check out Wiggins take a hop step into the lane.

He lands on two feet—a time for most players to loft a low-percentage floater or pull-up jumper over the defense. But Wiggins has other plans.

This is an example of Wiggins' ability to turn a difficult scoring opportunity into an easy two points.

Where Wiggins will make his money, though, is in the mid-range. If we're really talking about the next NBA star, he'll have to follow through on the promise he's flashed as a scorer. 

Creating off the dribble and separating in the mid-range is where the top scorers really shine. This is the department of offense Wiggins will be refining over the next few years, but he's shown a skill set is certainly in place.

Wiggins isn't locked in for superstardom, but he's one of the rare young prospects with the natural talent to hold up such a towering ceiling. His upside will remain intact whether he excels at Kansas or struggles with inconsistency.

I wouldn't bet on Wiggins taking over the country with monumental performance after monumental performance in one year in college.

The hype surrounding Andrew Wiggins should be focused on his long-term outlook. And given what we've seen so far, all signs point to an electric future NBA stud.