Andrew Wiggins VS LeBron James

  • God, I’m sick of this comparison. These two players have so little in common with their own unique basketball talents that comparing the two may be equal to comparing a wildebeest with an antelope. Concerning my animal reference, I think we all know which animal symbolizes which player.

    However, there may now exist a situation where the two super talents can be compared.

    LeBron James played his first 7 years of NBA ball in Cleveland. LeBron became a NBA superstar at Cleveland. LeBron did everything in his power to bring a title to Cleveland (but failed). LeBron (finally) had to divorce his marriage with Cleveland to pursue a realistic chance at the big prize by running off with another woman (The Heat) when he became a free agent.

    Andrew Wiggins number is up. After the report of teammate Joel Embiid’s most recent injury, most feel that Wiggins will move into the cherished 1st pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Guess who has that pick? None other than Cleveland, the team the franchise that seems to be inoculated against NBA championship trophies. Followers of the NBA can hardly imagine Wiggins at Cleveland without referencing the previous history of James at Cleveland. Could Wiggins be in for a unfulfilling 7 years at Cleveland? Could Wiggins be the next superstar to divorce Cleveland and leave town with fans burning his jersey like they did with James?

    There are some similarities in this situation that point to the possibility of history repeating itself. And there are also differences that stick out to let us know it is unlikely Wiggins will follow the same footsteps James took in and out of Cleveland.

    First off… James marriage (and divorce) with Cleveland was incestuous. James was born in Akron, Ohio. He was adopted as a native son of Cleveland. Wiggins was born in Toronto, Ontario, 292 miles north of Cleveland, a long, freezing swim for Cleveland fans. If Cleveland signs Wiggins to a contract one of the first questions he will be faced with may be about baseball. Will he support his hometown Blue Jays or jump fence to the Indians? There isn’t a lot of love between Indian and Blue Jay fans. It is unlikely he will ever be received (loved) like James was in Cleveland.

    Second… Even though Wiggins has received astronomical hype from all the sports media outlets, he is yet to play an NBA game and few people around the game expect him to shoot out of the block like James did. James scored 25 points in his first NBA game and set an NBA record for most points scored by a “prep-to-pro” player in his debut. He was named “Rookie of the Year” and finished with averages of 20.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and a remarkable 5.9 apg. in his rookie year. James was off to the races, races he couldn’t win in Cleveland. Who amongst us believes Wiggins will have that kind of success in his rookie year? Especially when considering that the pressure will be on Wiggins to produce for a team that can’t help relieve the pressure off of him.

    You have to wonder what piece of advice James would give to Wiggins today if they could speak in total privacy. Would James tell Wiggins to bite the bullet and sign with Cleveland and earn his wings through years of struggle? Or would James tell Wiggins to bite the bullet and tell Cleveland he won’t play there and force a trade (which could damage Wiggins reputation and hurt his paycheck)?

    It seems young Andrew Wiggins will have to make some hard decisions soon, though word has it that Cleveland will trade Wiggins if the right deal comes to give them more quality bodies to fill their depleted roster. Maybe young Wiggins (or his agent) has already laid down his ground rules with Cleveland.

    So the world turns…

    Question to all you great Jayhawk fans:

    What NBA team would best utilize the services of one young Andrew Wiggins?

  • I don’t follow the NBA, so I have no clue what team would be best.

    That said, if Houston got him I would go see him play-and I believe the team that gets him will see an uptick of ticket sales where ever that is. I know the game is more physical, but I expect his athleticism to keep improving. The kid just turned 19 in February-just think how much athletes develop between 18 or 19 and 21.

  • @drgnslayr I don’t think it will happen personally as I think Jabari will now go #1 but I do like the idea of Wiggins playing for Cleveland. The Cavs have had a number of busts with draft picks (most notably last year) so that is why I think they will pick Parker. He is the most NBA ready of the “Big 3” and will produce right away. Wiggins is still a bit unpolished on offense but as we all know he is a freak of nature and is a good 3 point shot away from being a serious All Star level NBA player. It is also interesting to think of Wiggs potentially getting Lebron to come back to Cleveland to play with the player with one of the highest ceilings since Lebron came into the league.

    I predict it goes 1. Parker 2. Wiggins 3. Jo Jo. I know a lot of people are saying that Dante Exum may jump into the 3 spot but I can’t see Philadelphia passing on Embiid if he is still available. He is worth the gamble.

  • @drgnslayr

    He’ll be in Toronto, one way, or another.

    And I expect him to play vastly better than he did at KU.

    I think once the advisors let him play, he will fulfill a lot of expectations.

    No way did we see the real Wigs.

    I believe we just saw the merchandize being protected, except for a couple games.

    But he is going to have to learn to dribble with both hands and shoot the trey, or be known as the next Lebron that never was.

  • Selfishly, I’d like to see him play for the Nuggs. And I think his game would be better suited for the western conference.

    Although if he goes to the Bucks, a good friend said we can go see them play Denver and he’ll let me wear his Paul Mokeski jersey!!!

  • Wiggins tidbits: Wiggins isnt the next LeBron, that would be Jabari Parker. Anyone who has seen 18yr old 6’8 240lb Parker play, can see he is much more like LBJ (than Wiggins). Andrew Wiggins, after he gets to 220ish, and puts in the time, could be more like Kawhi Leonard. He has a nice penetration move, and has a good looking jump shoot form, as a building block. Wiggins best move is his pull-up or step-back midrange J. He used that to beat Duke late, showing a ton of confidence in it on a big stage, very early in his 1 college season.

    And regarding the recent Brady-vs.-Wiggins debate on the other thread (2 days ago): Comparing Wiggins to Brady is an absolute apples to oranges comparison (despite the fact they both happened to play the 3wing position, only because Self put Brady in that position).

    Brady was a 5yr program-player. Brady came in after a year at a prep school. Roger Morningstar tried EVERYTHING to get Brady up to speed to try to give his son a shot at a basketball pro career. He prep schooled him, he had him redshirt at KU. Brady was one of the best at being a dutiful role player we have seen under Self. He knew the system, and delivered on what Self wanted, and what those teams needed. He defended great against 95% of opposing wings, he shot selectively and well from the 3, and he made very few errors in handling or in feeding the post. All of this is very commendable to Brady Morningstar. We need to realize that he simply was not a PTP’er like either Keiton Page or Brady Heslip. Those other 2 delivered big time, in big games, and were relied on to do so. Brady dropped 25pts on Richmond Spiders, but then against VCU (in same arena) he couldnt duplicate it, and looked timid and non-aggressive. It will remain a hypothetical musing if he could have been a PTP’er, if Self told him he wanted him to be such? But we saw Brady perform at BradyLevel after years of prep. How many times did he score over 20ppg? My gosh, we have 4yrs of performance data on Brady which we can analyze. Also recall that Self played BStar at the 3wing, because he did not have a “functional” alternative…and that fact is the subject of hot debate. I personally would have thrown EJ out there 20mpg, eventhough he couldnt defend, just to develop him faster…but that is my moot rambling, as we all know that is not Self’s way. Self ran offense thru Cole and Sherron Brady’s first starting year, then ran offense thru Xavier, Sherron, and Cole the next year.

    Now see that the “comparison” to Andrew Wiggins is quite imperfect: Wiggins LED his team in scoring as an 18yr old. Someone mentioned Brady doesnt meet the “eye test”, and while I love my long-athletics, lets just forget the eye-test for now. Let’s talk basketball impact. Wiggins “impact” was just different on the offensive end. Just plain different. His role was DIFFERENT, eventhough he played the 3wing. Self kept telling Wiggins to be more aggressive and to shoot more…did Self ever tell Brady that? Did he ever tell Brady to be the focal point of the offense of the entire team? Wasnt Wiggins more aggressive than Perry Ellis? Does anyone envision Brady dropping 41pts on anybody, even a non-conf cupcake? If it wasnt for that damn NBA rule, imagine if Wiggins was at KU for 2 or 3 years–when we’d all start to see his physique and aggression and skillset blossom. One thing of tremendous note: Wiggins was the best defender on KU’s team last year, bar none. He shut down Jabari Parker on a big stage, and even asked Self to guard him, then guarded him anyway when Self was equivocal about it. And that performance by Wiggins against Duke, was basically with all of his pre-KU, pre-Self skills…as that was maybe the 3rd game of the season? The 3 players you thank for a KU win against Duke are Wiggins, Mason, and perhaps Ellis, who kept it close early. But Wiggins closed that game out, with key late contributions from Seldon and Traylor.

    So how wide is the gap if we run our ‘imperfect comparison’ between 25yr old Brady, and a 25yr old Andrew Wiggins, at some point in the future?

    I’m not thumping BStar here, nor glorifying Wiggins at BStar’s expense…actually the whole point of this post is that they are 2 totally different players with 2 different skillsets, and were asked to perform totally different roles by Bill Self.

    The versatility of Wiggins was that he could be “glue” in one game, while going supernova in another. For all the talk of Wiggins’ disappearances, he did lead KU in scoring ppg for the season. Brady really was not capable of supernova, and again, I’m not sure how many times he broke 20pts in his career over 4yrs? Maybe the fact that one went undrafted, while the other is a top3 pick, is all the basketball comparison that is needed?

    Regarding personality: I thought BOTH Wiggins and Brady have exceptional business-like on-court demeanor, and I loved that about both, just as I loved the occasional fieriness out of TRob, Marcus, Sherron, Mario or Tyshawn.

    Not sure why we even started comparing two different category players? I wish both Brady and Wiggins the best…RCJH!

  • Andrew Wiggins = the next Kawhi Leonard.

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