Andrew Wiggins — the presumptive No. 1 overall pick next draft, a wing who can score in a variety of ways and is thought to have a Durant-level impact on a team — is just like every kid who grew up rooting for and dreaming of playing for his hometown team. He has taken shots in the gym, picturing himself in their jersey, counting down “3…2…1” and hitting the game winner.
Wiggans, who will play next season for Kansas, grew up in Toronto.
After winning the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award Tuesday, Wiggins told esnewsreporting.com he wants to win a national championship at Kansas, would love to play Kobe Bryant one-on-one and considers Michael Jordan the greatest ever, before talk turned to his preferred NBA home.
“I would like to say the Raptors, I want to play for them,” said Wiggins, who has been spotted many times sporting a Raptors cap.
Toronto, however, is not one of the teams going “woeful for Wiggins” next season — they have Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and an improved Jonas Valanciunas (based on Summer League). The Raptors are not going to contend for a title next season, but they are not going to be in the running for the worst record in the NBA, either. Which makes it unlikely that they land Wiggins as a lot of teams are going to try and be bad to be near the top of a deep draft (that will be a big story the second half of next season).
But a boy can dream.
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“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.
“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”
That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.
I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?
It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.