Last week, Cleveland said its No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins, was off the table in Kevin Love trade discussions. Then Thursday, suddenly, Wiggins was back in play in a trade for Love. And it was reported that LeBron spoke to Kevin Love, hoping to lure him to Cleveland.
You know what that means – what LeBron wants, he gets, so it seems like the Cavs will cave and give up the bouncy 19-year old for the best power forward in the NBA. (We’ve seen this movie before – LeBron and D Wade lured Chris Bosh to Miami when he was arguably the game’s best power forward, a 24-10 machine; by year four he had sacrificed his offensive game to the point that he was a 16-6 guy on a max contract.)
The worst part? We’re not going to hear from Wiggins for years. In Cleveland, he’d be poised to be one of the most exciting young players in the NBA – filling the lanes with Kyrie Irving running the fast break or getting easy layups and dunks in half court sets because everyone’s fearing LeBron and Irving/Mike Miller burying 3-pointers.
In Minnesota … gulp. Yes, they have dazzling Ricky Rubio at point guard, but he still hasn’t developed a jump shot. And then … a bunch of below-average players on the wing – Kevin Martin (SG), Chase Budinger (SG/SF), Corey Brewer (SG/SF), Shabazz Muhammad (SG), Glenn Robinson III (SF/SG) and Zach LaVine (G/F). How’s that rotation going to work out?
Any dreams Wiggins had of going against LeBron in practice, or facing zero pressure because he’d at best be the 3rd option offensively will be shattered if he goes to Minnesota. The Wolves have no post presence that commands a double team (LeBron will!) so forgot about open shots.
I know what you’re thinking: But then how did Kevin Love compile 26-12 last year?
Yeah, well let’s look back at his first two years in the NBA. Love turned 20 prior to the start of his rookie year; Wiggins turns 20 around the All-Star break. Love started 37 games playing 25 minutes a night and averaged a modest 11.1 ppg. The Wolves only won 24 games. Al Jefferson was the team’s best player, and Randy Foye averaged 16.3 ppg. Kevin Love’s 2nd year? Much like the first – only started 22 games, played in 60, averaged 14 ppg and 11 rpg on a team led by Jefferson and Corey Brewer (13 ppg). Jonny Flynn was their rookie point guard. They won 15 games.
Love didn’t really blow up until year three after Jefferson was gone. On another awful 17-win team, he averaged 20.2 ppg and 15.2 rpg while starting 73 games. Love went next-level the following year when Ricky Rubio arrived (24 ppg, 12.2 rpg). Love took 19 three-pointers as a rookie, attempted 211 in year three and then 505 (!) last year.
Will NBA fans in this PRODUCE NOW OR YOUR SUCK social media age have the patience to wait for three years for Andrew Wiggins to grow up on a bad team? Of course not.
But if he were to come along slowly like Love did, except on a Finals contender in Cleveland, with LeBron raising his level of play and low expectations because the rest of the roster is solid … ah hell, it probably won’t happen, so forget it.
Nice knowing you, Wiggins. Enjoy basketball purgatory.
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