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Andrew Wiggins: The Next Franchise Talent

Thu, 08/30/2012 - 7:36am

Andrew WigginsAndrew WigginsAndrew Wiggins, a 6’7” small forward from Toronto, Ontario, is arguably the best high school basketball player in America. Earlier this year Sports Illustrated ran a cover story proclaiming Chicagoan Jabari Parker to be the best high school prospect to come along since LeBron James. The peculiar thing about that is that most analysts agree Parker, as good as he is, isn’t on the level of another current prep prospect, Wiggins. Both are long, athletic forwards that are able to do a little of everything on the court. Parker is a member of the class of 2013 while Wiggins is currently a member of the 2014 class despite being older than Parker.

Wiggins has been contemplating reclassifying to join the 2013 class and enter college a year early. This year at Huntington Prep he is taking the classes required to enter college next season if he chooses to do so. He appears headed to either Kentucky or Florida State. Many recruiting analysts feel that's it's a foregone conclusion that Wiggins will end up in the Bluegrass State and there's a good chance he will reclassify and be there for the 2013-14 season. Don’t count out the Seminoles, though, as his parents each competed as Seminoles during their college years. Whichever route he chooses, he’ll likely have a chance at playing his last game of his one college season in April of 2014.

There is a lot of talk regarding how he’ll change the landscape of college basketball, but what about his impact on whichever NBA draft he elects to enter? At this point, it’s impossible to know who will be in each draft, making it difficult to evaluate the draft classes. However, what we do know is Wiggins will probably be in the discussion to be one of the first names called. He’s got all the physical tools a team looks for. He’s got a quick first step that he utilizes to create his shot anytime he wants to. He’s strong enough to be able to use his physicality to dominate when he has a smaller defender on him. He stands 6’7” with a 6’11” wingspan, making his 200 pound frame all the more imposing. His father, Mitchell Wiggins, was a former first round pick and his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, was a silver medalist in track and field. His genetics clearly work in his favor.

Coach Roy Rana of Canada who has worked with Wiggins for a number of years had this to say about Wiggins at this year's Hoops Summit, an event in which Wiggins helped the World Team (and Rana) shock the Under 18 USA Junior Select Team for the upset win. "I think he's pretty special right now. He's a phenominally gifted talent coupled with a super human athlete. He's got great length. It's hard at times because you look at him and the game comes so easy for him and it almost looks like he's not exerting a lot of energy. I don't necessarily think that's the case. I think as he grows as a player and a person he's really got a chance to dominate the game at every level."

Andrew WigginsAndrew WigginsOffensively, he is a load as he can slash to the rim or step out and knock down an outside jumper. Defensively, he’s not afraid of a challenge. Earlier this summer, he went head-to-head with Julius Randle, the top power forward in the 2013 class. Randle went for 15 and 13 against him, which may seem like a lot, but Wiggins was able to contain him to well below his normal output. In addition, Wiggins burned Randle’s team for 28 and 13 and the win. His game is electrifying on both ends of the court. There is just about nothing the young man cannot do.

When drawing up comparisons, Kobe Bryant is a name that comes to mind. Wiggins has a nearly identical athletic profile and is developing Kobe's obscene one on one game and trademark ability to blow by defenders at an early age. What Wiggins is missing at this point is Kobe's ultra competitive drive and attention to detail. Success and hype often brings complacency, so it's up to Andrew to decide just how great he wants to become.

Literally any team in the association would love to get their hands on a player of Wiggins’ caliber. He projects as a future all-star wing, and a potential franchise talent. Great size and great athleticism is a good combination, but when you add to that a ton of talent, drive, fundamentally sound play, and a level head it becomes a package that will leave NBA executives drooling at the prospect of landing Wiggins. If he enters the 2013 class, he’ll likely be entering the draft with at least some of these stellar players: Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Randle, Parker, and Aaron Gordon. But it's clear that Wiggins talent supersedes them all.

Were he to remain in the 2014 class, he’d be battling talented combo forward Noah Vonleh, for the honor of best one and done talent. His status as the top prospect would be unquestioned in this draft.

Ultimately, Wiggins is in prime position to enter the league after one year in college and be a building block for an NBA franchise right from the start of his career. It is up to him to decide how soon he wants to begin that stage of his career. Some feel that he's so ready at this point, remaining in high school for two more years could actually stunt his development.

You hear a lot about his recruitment but I can promise you it’s not just recruiting analysts and college coaches that are following his decision closely, there are a number of hopeful NBA executives watching intently as well.

Pro-21
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Too Early

I remember when you guys had an article about Andre Drummond being the next best thing...now its looking like he'll be a good nba player. This guy could be a 6'7" russell westbrook...or an underacheiving wing...

druneave3
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Of course it is early

he's 17 and a junior in high school but everyone is saying Wiggins is the best high school player since LeBron, and a beast. AND, have you seen him play? Ok. As a Bulls fan I want them to throw everything they can at the team who gets #1 pick the year of his draft. Charlotte #1 pick, Mirotic, Deng, more picks, and anyone besides Rose. Wouldn't happen but I would try, as I am sure most teams will, much like Anthony Davis and many other picks.

Pro-21 you are already making the call on Andre Drummond and he hasn't even played an NBA game, don't you think it is Too Early? No reason he can't mature and become a multi-year all-star or even HOF.... Again, probably most likely not going to happen but....

Pro-21
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I Feel you but...

I just don't know lol I have ssen him play hes incredible but theres no way he was better than kd , d.rose and more in high school. He might not even be better than Eric Gordon was in HIGH SCHOOL feel me, people always make all sorts of crazy hyperbolic statements , just let the kid play...and Andre will be a useful player in the NBA no matter what, but he was hyped too much and thats just the truth

druchris
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NBA DRAFT RIGGED

The game is so much of a business that I believe Michael Jordan has already been promised Andrew Wiggens. When Mike Gilchrist was chosen over Harrison Barnes I was confused, but now I understand, he will be Scottie Pippen to Wiggens. They've scouted the best and have already determined the greats from the good. Similar to Kobe miraculously ending up a Laker, its not destiny, its engineering.

Wiggens is on track to really be one those guys that becomes a franchise cornerstone. I like the Kobe comparison, or even Tracy McGrady. He could ending up growing to 6'9, with that speed, he might be unstoppable.

Bottom line, skys the limit.

3-6 Mafia
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i can now say i've seen him

i can now say i've seen him get compared to the best wings in the game in kobe, KD, and LBJ.

GoJOSH HUESTIS
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Yes he is better than KD at

Yes he is better than KD at the same stage (as juniors in H.S). Not the shooter KD was but better handles, athletic ability and much better defender. He's not as skilled as Kobe as a jr but is more athletic and not to far behind. Not sure he has e drive yet though. Very comparable to a Sr Tmac. As far as the draft, teams aren't just going to throw players at other teams to get the pick, no team did that SI Anthony Davis either because the draft is a lotto so no one knows who is going to get e top pick. As far as Drummond, Drummond was hyped because of what he could potentially do. He rarely dominated a H.S game ( avg 15 and 8 in H.S) bu he was such a physical brats that his potential was/is very high. With Wiggins he has high potential and he dominates. Now he could end up not having the drive and not reach his potential (no one is a sure thing) but his potential is unquestionable

motorka
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Just cause he is Canadian, he will be just fine

The fact that he is very talented and humble at a same time. And the fact that he is Canadian he will be fine. He will be more driven with the maple leaf on his chest, theres great excitement and pride of new generation of very tallented ball players coming from Canada, all with extra bag of the perception that Canada can't ball, so they are extra motivated to prove the world otherwise.

theballerway
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He so not better than KD going into his final yr

KD was a 6' 9 sniper. His handle might be better but only barely. To me his handle is his main weakness. When hes in transition its fine but I am yet to see him use any advanced ball handling oin the half court. Hes got as crazy 1st step as we all can see , the spin move and the pull up are his otions when he cant get straight past a defender. you neever see him shift a defender with a cross over or anything.

I dont really like the Tmac that much because even he at 6'9 was a solid iso ball handler.

I do hope he somehow ends up on the Bobcats tho. Hes a nice young player but Im just not convinced hes the next great one. Reminds me of young Gerald Green or Wesley Johnson just more aggressive

sportspolymath
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Spin move

He also has an awesome spin move when his right hand is overplayed. Great talent, could probably start in the NBA right now for a number of teams.

DerrickFinbow
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Trust me

Trust me people, ALL OF THE HYPE IS TRUE ABOUT ANDREW WIGGENS. I have seen him play at least 15 -20 times live and also seen him practice ALOT. The guy is going to dominate for years. He practiced at My college in Toronto (Humber) with team Canada. The kid will be on the same level as Lebron and Kobe and Durant in a few years. If you have seen him live, and how athletic he is, and the things he can do, you will know what I am saying. He makes the game look so easy, it looks like he is not even trying. SERIOUSLY.

I just hope the Raptors bottom out next year badly and trade off our whole team to try and get as many high lottery picks as possible for 2014, just so they can get a chance at this guy, cuz he is that good. He will turn around a franchise no problem, and if it was in Toronto (his hometown) the interest in the team would be back to when we had Vince Carter in his prime.

Any team that is lucky enough to draft him, will see their teams fortunes skyrocket within years. You can count on that.

GoJOSH HUESTIS
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I'm pretty sure he has

I'm pretty sure he has changed plenty of minds now

Ang Puti Lalaki
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Bad?

Is it bad that I am rooting for this guy just because he shares the same name as one of my favorite literary character s?

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