Insider request please (comparing Wiggins and Lebron)

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Joined: 03/04/2013
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Kinda dumb

From my time as an assistant coach at Ohio State, I had the opportunity to evaluate LeBron James at St. Vincent/St. Mary High School in nearby Akron. Watching him for his first two seasons in high school and over the summers, it was obvious he was headed for stardom.

In the fall of his junior season, we were playing in the Maui Invitational where dozens of NBA scouts and executives always show up to evaluate. I was in a discussion with one NBA scout who gave me some very good advice upon his evaluation of James:

"Stop sending him mail," he said. "You are wasting your postage budget." At that time, sending mail was a big part of the recruiting process.

"And don't waste your gas money, either. He is coming right to the league."

James finished his senior season as the consensus No. 1 player in a strong high school class. The NBA scout was right, and the rest was history considering James went on to become the top pick in the 2003 draft, won an NBA championship and is now known as the world's best player. Fast-forward to now.

Over the past few years I have witnessed the emergence of Andrew Wiggins, ESPN's No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2013, who is headed to Kansas. Originally labeled as the top player in 2014, he decided to reclassify back into his original class and leapfrogged the entire group. That shows his potential. It's likely he'll be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, just as LeBron was in 2003.

Their paths are clearly similar. But who was better coming from high school and why? Let's take a look at how Wiggins stacks up to James.


Athletic ability

[+] EnlargeLeBron James
Tom Pidgeon/Getty ImagesLeBron James was the consensus No. 1-ranked player in the 2003 class.

James: He was a powerful athlete with elite-level speed and size. His ability to convert at a moment's notice and run with effort was noticeable and impressive. James was a quick vertical jumper who could bounce off of two feet or just one foot, with dazzling hang time and body control. Though he was naturally stronger than most, it was his sheer overall power that made him a special athlete.

James imposed his power on both ends of the floor to try to dominate the game, from a thunderous dunk in traffic to an erasing blocked shot on defense.

Wiggins: When you watch Wiggins compete from an athletic point of view, the best word to describe his outstanding athletic ability is "explosive." His vertical jump is unique, especially from a two-feet takeoff -- think Dominique Wilkins -- but it's his second jump that is uncommon. Wiggins can get off the ground for a second jump when most great athletes are still on their way down.

His blazing speed going north-to-south in a possession and quick lateral movements allow him to cover ground fast. Wiggins used his athleticism, but not as much as he could have or should have, to have an impact on a game.

Edge: James



James: He was one of the most creative passers I have ever seen from the high school ranks. James had extraordinary vision to not only make the extra pass, he could create an assist the longer he held the ball in his hands. He was a true facilitator throughout the entire game, doing everything he could to help his team win. I haven't seen a player at that size pass so effectively and efficiently from a triple-threat position, in transition or off the bounce, since Magic Johnson.

Wiggins: For someone who is mostly known as a tremendous athlete and scorer, Wiggins is a willing passer. Right now he can't see the assists unless it's obvious, because it's not on his mind as much as it was with James. He is unselfish and will give it up when his vision allows him to find an open teammate for a better shot, and he is pretty accurate with his delivery.

Edge: James



James: He was a dominating scorer at times, but his scoring average does not reflect his true offensive ability, because he was often helping his teammates score. His versatility and high basketball IQ enabled him to play and score from all five positions, making him a dangerous offensive player. James did not hunt down his shot very often. He would rather have a triple-double than 30 points. However, when he did try to score, the result was usually a basket or a trip to the free throw line.

Wiggins: Wiggins can be found affecting the game inside the elbows, from the foul line down and at the free throw line. He scores best from his explosive moves jumping over or around a defender, and also by way of a hard drive to the rim and from short jumpers. A one-positional player, you know the area where he is going to score from. The hard part is actually stopping him.

Edge: James



James: James struggled with his jumper throughout his high school career and sometimes his best shot was a miss, considering he would hit the offensive glass and chase it down. His shot was not mechanically sound, as he would not shoot it the same way every time. This factored into his consistency and range. James was a capable shooter from inside the arc and a streaky-to-poor shooter behind it.

Wiggins: This is not a strength of either player, as Wiggins was also erratic during his high school career, but his shot was a bit more polished from the perimeter. When he would run off of baseline screens or wide pin-downs, Wiggins was very good at curling into his shot or even better at a rhythm dribble pull-up inside the arc. His long-range shot needs polish and is inconsistent, however he's capable from deep. He would knock one down a bit more often than James.

Edge: Wiggins

Toronto16's picture
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Joined: 07/17/2009
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Ok, so basically the

Ok, so basically the comparison is that there is no comparison. Ladies and Gentleman, ESPN!

Memphis Madness
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Joined: 03/30/2011
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Wiggins sounds more like Dr.

Wiggins sounds more like Dr. J to me. Or David Thompson, one of those kind of guys.
Why not just compare him to Dominique? That guy was great and his last name also started
with the letter 'W'.


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