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Wiggins’ 2013-14 stats at Kansas
Andrew Wiggins was the presumptive top pick going into his freshman year at Kansas, but in what is becoming a yearly tradition with one-and-done prospects, he hasn’t lived up to the hype. Worse yet, he’s been overshadowed by his own teammate Joel Embiid.
But he’s slowly rounded into form throughout the second half of the season and still looks like a top-three pick. The athletic small forward would be a very nice draft choice for the Magic, giving them a prototypical star to build the franchise around.
It’s unclear how committed the Magic are to having Victor Oladipo at point guard, and many questions of fit eventually come down to that. If the point guard experiment works with Oladipo, they can move Arron Afflalo to the shooting guard position and slot Wiggins in at the three. If not, then there could be a bit of a positional crunch. Afflalo has shown that he’s far more than a bench player, and would likely have to be dealt in that scenario.
Wiggins is also enticing as an occasional small-ball four. Tobias Harris has thrived since becoming a full-time power forward, but he doesn’t play every minute at that position and the Magic aren’t married to him.
Wiggins has struggled shooting the ball this season, but has still put up high point totals. A third of his shots have been 2-point jumpers, and he’s only shot 34 percent on those shots, but his .562 True Shooting percentage still ranks as above-average.
Historically though, True Shooting percentage reveals only a little about what type of player a prospect will be. For wings at least, 3-pointers are a more important indicator. Wiggins has shot a solid, if not great, 36 percent from behind the arc and shoots them at a healthy rate — nearly half as often as he shoots 2s.
He doesn’t come out quite as well in defensive statistics as his athleticism would indicate, but he isn’t a flop by any means. Block rate and steal rate are surprisingly significant indicators for wings — the theory goes that they are proxies for athleticism and activity — and Wiggins rates about average in blocks (2.7 percent) and steals (1.9 percent) for wings in my seven-year database of draft prospects.
The data alone indicate Wiggins is a top-three prospect, but what makes his potential higher than the numbers can show is his athleticism. It’s that athleticism that’s invited Tracy McGrady comparisons. He hasn’t fully displayed his athletic ability in college, but it’s unclear how much that matters.
He’s eerily similar to one-time top draft prospect Harrison Barnes in some ways. Barnes looked like the perfect NBA wing player coming out of high school, but he failed to produce in college and thus far has yet to produce in the NBA, either. Wiggins has put up far better college numbers in his freshman campaign than Barnes put up as a sophomore at North Carolina. But Wiggins has displayed the occasional complacent behavior that plagued Barnes at UNC.
On the flipside is Andre Drummond. At UConn, he was plagued by the same questions about his aggressiveness as Barnes and Wiggins, yet he’s made those questions look like lunacy in the NBA. There’s merit to the theory that Drummond’s dynamic pick-and-roll skills just didn’t fit the slow and cramped college game.
Could Wiggins blossom when exposed to NBA spacing and more opportunities in the pick-and-roll? It’s a question that won’t be answered for quite a while, and one the Magic will have to consider if he sits on the board when they’re ready to pick.
The numbers are average for a top-three pick and the Magic will have to decide if they want to bank on Wiggins’ upside. If they decide they want to, there’s a good chance they get a franchise building block out of it.