Andrew Wiggins, 6-foot-8 small forward, Kansas
2013-14 stats: 17.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, .448 FG%, .341 3P%
The most-ballyhooed of the elite freshmen prospects entering college basketball last season, Wiggins was criticized for his lack of consistency, but overall, had a very impressive campaign. The son of an ex-NBA player and a former Canadian Olympic track star, Wiggins’ explosiveness, potential on the defensive end of the floor and high ceiling is what sets him apart. Burdened by expectations of greatness, the major concern about Wiggins is that he might not possess a superstar mentality.
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Career highlights: The former McDonald’s All-American and nation’s top recruit averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and a blocked shot per game as a freshman at Kansas. Some of the most impressive performances from Wiggins, a Toronto native who attended prep school in West Virginia, included a 22-point, eight rebound game against Duke, 26 points and 11 rebounds against Florida, a 17-point and 19-rebound effort against Iowa State and a 41-point, eight-rebound, five-steal, four-block outing against West Virginia. Wiggins earned the Big 12’s freshman of the year award, was named a first team all-conference selection and received second team All-American honors.
Strengths: Equipped with tremendous length, a lethal first step and remarkable athleticism, Wiggins excels at attacking the basket, especially in transition but also against set defenses, where he uses dynamic moves and creativity to finish at the rim. A streaky shooter, he’s also capable of getting hot from the perimeter and his rebounding ability for his position allows him to contribute on the glass. Defensively, Wiggins can guard both wing positions, utilizing his size and lateral quickness, as well as making blocking shots off the ball and playing the passing lanes.
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Weaknesses: Not a refined ballhandler or passer, Wiggins doesn’t create much for his teammates, is mostly a straight-line driver in half-court situations and has a tendency to settle for contested outside jumpers. He doesn’t always play with assertiveness, occasionally being passive for long stretches and failing to make an impact on the game. A fear among some NBA personnel is that Wiggins lacks the desire to be a franchise player and take on the responsibility that comes with that title.
Draft projection: Wiggins will likely be either the first or second pick in the draft, as a result of the recent foot injury suffered by former Kansas teammate Joel Embiid, vying with rival Jabari Parker of Duke for the top spot. Expected to flourish on fast breaks and make an impact defensively from the outset of his career, Wiggins’ upside leaves room to be patient with his development. Down the road, however, if Wiggins isn’t one of the league’s upper-echelon two-way wings, his progress will be viewed as a disappointment.