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Don’t think Andrew Wiggins is a lock as No. 1 pick. He’s not.

Nov 13, 2013, 12:44 PM EDT

Andrew Wiggins AP

We’ve blown him up — when you talk about NBA teams taking this season we call it “riggin for Wiggins.” As in Andrew Wiggins, the Kansas freshman who had 22 points and 10 boards, plus played some good defense, in leading his team past Duke Tuesday night.

Wiggins is atop every serious mock draft right now and with good reason — he is a tremendous athlete who has a variety of shakes, hesitation moves and more to create his own shot. And that shot is getting better. He’s gotten the most hype of someone entering the draft since the Greg Oden/Kevin Durant draft. Or maybe back to LeBron James. That kind of hype is not fair to Wiggins and not something he brought on himself (by all reports he’s pretty humble considering) but it is his reality as the anointed No. 1 pick in the next NBA draft.

Except Wiggins isn’t a lock to be the top pick. Not close.

The reason franchises are “tanking” (or whatever institutional rebuilding word you want to use) this year is not one player but a number of them who could change a franchise’s fortunes.

“Anyone that tells you that Andrew Wiggins — or any of the three freshmen — is a lock for the No. 1 pick does not know what they’re talking about,” Rob Dauster of NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk told PBT. “And the point that needs to be driven home here is that this has nothing to do with Wiggins as a prospect. He’s phenomenal. It has everything to so with the fact that Julius Randle and Jabari Parker are also franchise-changing talents, and that’s before you factor in guys like Marcus Smart, Joel Embiid, Doug McDermott and Dante Exum. There’s a sick amount of talent in this draft. Bottom line.

“Think about it like this: Minnesota got Kevin Love 5th in 2008. Are they complaining?”

It’s not just college basketball and draft experts saying that.

Look at what one scout and one GM told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

“Until Wiggins learns how to play hard,” one NBA scout said, “he’s Kansas’ third-best freshman.”

“He’s not LeBron,” one NBA general manager said. “It’s not his fault regarding all the hype. People say he’s pretty humble. He’s a top-three pick for sure, if not No. 1.”

Or look at what another scout told Scott Howard-Cooper at NBA.com when asked if Wiggins was a lock at No. 1.

“I think in the media’s mind he is. But just in talking to one of our guys around the league, he said Wiggins was the third-best player in their practices. The media has Wiggins way ahead. I just don’t think the NBA has him way ahead.”

Part of a scout’s job is to pick apart a kid’s game and see if you can knock it off a pedestal. And no 18-year-old has anything resembling a complete game. Players evolve, ranking change. A year ago it seemed Nerlens Noel was headed for the No. 1 spot but an injury saw him fall down the board come draft night. Let’s hope none of these young college stars suffers that devastating and injury (Noel is not expected to play for the Sixers at all this season) but the point is that things change.

It’s not just one team that is going to be thrilled winning the NBA lottery next year. End up in the top seven and you are going to land a real stud player.

That is why tanking is going to be an issue all season.

  1. stadix093 - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    No idea who will go 1, but i don’t care. Whoever gets any of these guys will be happy. I love that I am lucky enough to be around to see these guys play.

  2. chiadam - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    He IS a lock, because his name rhymes with something that can be used in a stupid catch phrase showing how good he is. See: Riggin for Wiggins. What rhymes with Parker? Nothing, that’s what.

    It’s science.

    • limonadamas - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Simmons actually had some good ones recently: “Scandal for Randle” and “Sorry for Jabari.”

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        Scramble for Randle

      • limonadamas - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        I like “Scandal” better… it rhymes better and it builds on the “Riggin” theme. =)

  3. bballhistorian - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I can’t wait to see what everyone says, come “March Madness” time. But 1st impression is always the lasting impression.

    Teams like the Bobcats, Suns, Toronto (where i think Wiggins will land), need to employ their “tanking plans” asap. This draft class has the potential to be up there with the ’84, ’96 and ’03 Draft classes.

    Wiggins vs Parker – The next generation’s superstars.

  4. bucrightoff - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    You know this draft is totally stacked when GMs and scouts are already posturing in the misinformation game, 8 months before the draft.

  5. hildezero - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    @chiadam,

    Actually there is. “Darker for Parker”. Meaning having a bad blackout season for him. See that? Pretty creative, huh?…

    • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Sorry for Jabari?

  6. senorpapino - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Using Rob Dauster as a source? This guy has about 10 articles on CBT saying how Kentucky was going undefeated this year.

  7. bradyisbetterthanrodgers - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Jostlin for Jabari

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      That doesn’t even rhyme!

  8. chicitybulls - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I know it would never happen unless the Bulls find someone willing to accept a trade of this year’s pick and the Bobcat’s pick and more but how cool would it be for the Bulls to get Parker and have Rose and Parker (2 Simeon guys) lead the Bulls to another championship. I know most wont find this nice or cool or whatever but anyone from Chicago would.

    • unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Chicago has nothing on its roster- including Rose- that would entice an NBA GM to give up the top slot or 2nd slot in this draft. No GM is trading a premium wing player (potentially) on a rookie contract for a 6″2 inefficient point guard on a max contract. To take it a step further- maybe LeBron and Durant would make that trade go through- but nothing else gets it done.

      • chicitybulls - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Good thing you’re not a GM.

      • tk41 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        You probably don’t follow the Bulls very closely then as they have several HIGHLY sought after assets.
        1) They have the rights to Nikola Mirotic who won Eurobasket’s player of the year at 21. The 2 years prior to that, he was Eurobasket’s rising star (first guy to do that). If eligible for this draft, he would be a top 3 pick. His contract with Real Madrid (Rubio’s old team) expires at the end of the year & he’ll be in the NBA next year. This asset alone would get you a top 5 pick
        2) They have Charlotte’s future 1st round pick that is top 10 protected this year, top 8 next year & unprotected after for 2016. Good chance that is a VERY high future pick.
        3) Noah on a long term contract where he earns less than JaVale McGee, Bogut or Larry Sanders. He makes WELL below market value.
        …but they ain’t touching Rose.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        unfrozencavemanlawyer2 is right. GM’s are looking at this draft like “I can get a LeBron or Durant” – they’re not going to trade that possibility for a shaky Derrick Rose. Pre-injury Rose? Maybe. But not this Derrick Rose.

      • chicitybulls - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        tk – It’s usually “those” guys that make those types of comments. They dont follow a particular team as closely as the fan base yet they know everything about it. Just gotta laugh at them.

      • unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        Bulls do have some nice assets. Mirotic projects to be a nice stretch four- the kind that should complement Rose nicely. To argue he would be a top 3 pick ahead of Smart, Exum, Randle, Parker or Wiggins is specious at best and lunacy at worst.

        The much sought after Charlotte pick will be the 11th or worse pick in this draft, the 9th or worse pick in next years draft- or an unknown selection in the 2016 draft.

        You do realize that NBA GM’s and scouts have been pointing towards this draft for about 2-3 years? It’s simple economics- they want good cheap players. Mirotic, Rose and Noah might get some team to bite- I’ll give you that.

    • chitownmatt - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Are you trying to explain why the Bulls are playing the way they are???

      (I’m just kidding, I am a Bulls fan as well.)

      • chicitybulls - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        Shhh Matt. It’s not supposed to be public. Worked for the Spurs.

  9. johngalt1783 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I agree about Wiggins. However, there may be a big sleeper in next June’s draft, though by then he he may not be, Kyle Anderson, UCLA

    Anderson is a sophmore PG and stands 6’9″ Not a great shooter like Kidd wasn’t but he has a lot of talent, a lot of it.

    As a rookie
    PPG 9.6
    RPG 8.5
    APG 3.5

    In two preseason games so far this season
    PPG 10
    RPG 10.5
    APG 6.5

    I doubt Anderson goes #1 or maybe not even in top five depending on how well the Bruines do in the NCAA tournament in March. However, when all is said and done he could have the become the best NBA player of in next June’s draft.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Anderson is good but he will not be the #1 overall pick. He could end up being a pretty good NBA player though.

  10. thatoneguy22 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    please get your facts straight before posting an article that you know nothing about… wiggins only had 8 rebounds and love was drafted by Memphis Minnesota got o.j. mayo in third. just because Parker had a great game doesn’t mean he is going to jump Wiggins

  11. antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Wiggins may not be a lock but he’s probably going to go number 1 anyway. It’s true that he doesn’t appear to be playing hard all the time, but when he does play hard his ceiling appears to be the highest. It’s going to be hard for teams to resist his athleticism.

    Jabari Parker is going to have a difficult time selling himself as the top pick with all that chubbiness.

    • unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Clearly you’ve never seen Anthony Bennett

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Was Bennett playing alongside shredded Wiggins and ripped Randle?

        In a weak class Parker wouldn’t have as much difficulty being tubby… but in this class…

    • kinggw - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      I dont think his physique is a problem, whats going to kill him is his lack of athleticism.

      Parker is fundamentally sound, but I see him having a hard time defending or blowing past people at the next level. He reminds me of Paul Pierce who has had a pretty good career despite not having the best physique.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        Physique is definitely a consideration. It’s a major investment and you may not get the #1 pick again for a while – you want a player that checks all the boxes.

        And Pierce was never going to be taken #1 either. He was taken 10th.

        I’m not saying Parker isn’t going to find success at the next level – I’m saying he’s going to have a hard time as a lard a– convincing people to take him over a player like Wiggins, who obviously knows how to blast through the burn and ride the zone for maximum jacked chisel.

    • birdgang - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      All that chubbiness? You can’t be serious… Jabari Parker is 6’8″ and 235lbs, he’s got the most NBA ready body out of the big 3 freshman right now. If you watched the game vs Kansas you could see who flawlessly Parker moved from the 3 point/mid range game to down on the block. Then in transition he brought the ball up and showed you he can handle the rock and get past multiple defenders for a tremendous lay up. All 3 are excellent and will be stars in the league. But my early thoughts are that Parker is the most complete player at the moment, Randall is a dominate force in the paint but his free throw stroke needs a lot of work for him to be unstoppable force night in and night out, and Wiggins may well be the most talented of the 3 and have the most potential but it remains to be seen if he is going to live up to the hype.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:49 PM

        “Jabari Parker is 6’8″ and 235lbs, he’s got the most NBA ready body out of the big 3 freshman right now.”

        There’s 235 lbs at 9% body fat, then there’s 235 lbs at 25% body fat. Parker is more towards the latter.

        But yeah, I saw everything that Parker did in that game like everyone else. He already looks like he’s been playing for Duke for years. Wiggins still came through when his team needed him the most though, and he also happens to be in peak physical shape with no signs of conditioning ever being an issue.

        And the #1 pick is not about who the most complete player is “at the moment.” It’s more about who will be the most complete player a few years after that. Remember, some people actually thought Melo was more “NBA ready” than LeBron in 2004 – don’t be like those people.

  12. ryanrockzzz - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Well Utah is in the PARKing lot waiting for this season to end. That’s the best I’ve got.

  13. nman087 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Did he really say McDermott is in play for tanking teams?

  14. kavika6 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    JABARI!!!

  15. mungman69 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Sixers aren’t tanking.

    • somekat - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      They are, and should be. The Pelicans haven’t looked very good, that looks like it is going to be a lower lottery pick. 10-13 range. That could be a solid player with this years class. They do have 4 wins already, but luckily, a few other teams that are destined for the basement have racked up a few wins too.

      A team with any of the 3 of Parker/Randle/Wiggins, plus another one of the other guys on the list above (if one of them slides a bit, or if the Pelicans wind up with the 7-8 pick), plus MCW, plus Noel, with enough money to sign a max FA, that is something you can build a long term contender around

      We will know for certain if they are tanking if/when they trade Turner/Young/Hawes or any combination of them for late 1sts, which will happen

      • somekat - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        Actually, they would have enough money to sign 2 max FA’s (even if they keep Young around)

  16. Maurice Barksdale - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Here we go. All this is, are anonymous GM’s and scouts talking negative about Wiggins in hopes that he falls to them. They’re not going to talk him up because they want him. Plain and simple.

  17. bigmeechy74 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I can’t believe the pelicans passed up a chance to add a player from this draft to go alongside anthony davis so they could get jrue holiday. That sucks.

  18. dipasquajr2155 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    It’s absolutely true that any of the three freshmen can be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft this season. It is true that Andrew Wiggins has received much hype and press. By having one of the best drafts to come out in a recent decade, it is unfair to grade Wiggins at this point in time. An 18 year old kid is not going to have a complete grasp of their skills. Even LeBron James took a while to develop his game. With that said, this is going to be one of the greatest drafts in recent memory. Wiggins, Randle, and Parker are all franchise players that can change the culture of a franchise. The Philadelphia 76ers are a team with a massive amount of salary space and youth. Adding two players can turn the Sixers into a title contender. They can deal players like Turner and Hawes for picks to load up even more for the draft. Two players like Randle and Smart could make an exciting team to watch for Philly. The lineup of MCW, Smart, Young, Randle, and Noel is realistic. The Pelicans draft pick is a potential Top 10, so anything can happen. Wiggins may not be a lock right now, but nobody really is a lock. It depends on injuries, growth, and potential. There are always busts with the No. 1 pick. Anything can happen.

  19. emosnar - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    We should let the scouts do the reporting cause all writers do is guess and say stuid one liners hoping to get looks. Coach K already said NO ONE IS TANKING.

    Wiggin said he isn’t lebron so STOP we on ly hear it cause you put it out there just like no one said anything about tanking games. Just report the facts as you see them and be realistic and have an even perspective. Media sucks all over. Lebron, Lebron, Lebron. Wiggins, Parker or any other NBA prospect for years to come doesn’t care about tthe media’s wild claims they place on them what they do care about is the misrepresentation and the uncalled for bashing when that person doesn’t meet your lofty expectations. Just be a fan you freaks.

    Paul George – 16th pick, nuff said.

  20. emosnar - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    We should let the scouts do the reporting cause all writers do is guess and say stuid one liners hoping to get looks. Coach K already said NO ONE IS TANKING.

    Wiggins said he isn’t lebron so STOP we only hear it cause you put it out there just like no one said anything about tanking games. Just report the facts as you see them and be realistic and have an even perspective. Media sucks all over. Lebron, Lebron, Lebron. Wiggins, Parker or any other NBA prospect for years to come doesn’t care about tthe media’s wild claims they place on them what they do care about is the misrepresentation and the uncalled for bashing when that person doesn’t meet your lofty expectations. Just be a fan you freaks.

    Paul George – 16th pick, nuff said.

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