CLEVELAND – With the 2014 NBA Draft one month away, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the enviable task of either selecting top-rated prospectAndrew Wiggins or going in a different direction.
Wiggins, the much-hyped frosh phenom from suburban Toronto via Huntington Prep (WV) could become the second Canadian–and join Anthony Bennett in Cleveland–in being selected No.1 overall.
If Wiggins does end up hoisting up a Cavaliers wine-and-gold jersey, then Cleveland—who also has Brampton native Tristan Thompson—will have all but supplanted the Toronto Raptors as “Canada’s Team” eh?
International origins aside, Cleveland faces a tough decision when choosing between a Cameron-born prospect in fellow Kansas Jayhawk, Joel Embiid, who only started played basketball three years ago, and whose favorite sports growing up soccer and volleyball or an offensively-talented—yet defensively-challenged Jabari Parker.
Oh, to become the fly on the wall in the office of Cavs general manager David Griffin.
At the moment it seems that the Cavs would best be served in either taking Embiid—as Spencer Hawes is an unrestricted free agent and perennial fan favorite Anderson Varejao can never seem to stay healthy—would give the Cavs a much-needed rim protector and shot blocking presence that they sorely need in the rugged and half-court favoring East that has big men such as Nene, Kevin Garnett, Roy Hibbert and Andre Drummond.
And what about soon-to-be free agent Kevin Love?
While Cleveland has numerous assets to offer the Minnesota Timberwolves, would a player of Love’s high-profile and All-Star talent come to a team as dysfunctional and immature as Cleveland?
No offense, but considering Cleveland’s hard luck in sports, but this writer isn’t getting his hopes up.
And what about Luol Deng, also a free agent, not likely to return? If the Cavs are smart, they must prepare themselves for the likelihood of Deng ‘taking his talents’ elsewhere—as long as it isn’t that team down in South Beach.
Speaking of which, Wiggins makes the most sense as his athleticism allows him to fill the void left by Deng and Mr. You-Know-Who.
While some “experts” say that Wiggins needs to become more assertive, work on his handle and learn to shoot more consistently, the upside of a prospect that has a 44’ vertical, runs the floor with breath-taking, above-the-rim athleticism and has a 7’ wingspan capable of locking down wing players could be too good to pass on.
Minus some of his weaknesses in creating offense, Wiggins’ explosive style of play is Victoria Secret-level sexy, something that the Mary Jane-bland Cavaliers need.
Can only imagine the half-court lob passes that Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters will throw to Wiggins on the fast break, Cleveland would have the highest-flying circus this side of Barnum and Bailey and east of Lob City.
In averaging 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists during his 35 game-stay in Lawrence, Wiggins showed flashes of why he is the top pick, and if coached right, has the makings of being someone special.
Yes, Wiggins’ last game as a Jayhawk was a proverbial dud in scoring four points against Stanford, yet that’s all in the past now, and Wiggins could be both the Cavaliers and a whole city’s future salvation.
If the Cavs find a coach that employs a high-tempo offense of Mike D’Antoni that has Wiggins, Irving, Waiters, Hawes and a couple of big-name free agent signings, that becomes a dream come true for the organization and its fans, with playoffs certainly a reality.