Andrew Wiggins is projected as the No. 1 overall pick next summer and beyond that a genuine franchise player. The best player drafted since 2007. A game changer. A guy you build around.
Have fun living up to that insane hype. When people talk about him they throw out the names LeBron James and Kevin Durant — the two best players in the game today (we’ve done that here at PBT). Not because Wiggins is in their mold (his style is probably more vintage Tracy McGrady if you need a comp) but because he’s expected to have that kind of impact.
Except he wants you to stop comparing him to those two. Here is what he told ESPN.
“I’ve got a long way to go before I can be compared to LeBron and Durant,” Wiggins said. “Those are the best players in the world right now and I’m still in college. So I think it’s really unfair to compare me to someone of that caliber. Hopefully one day I can be compared to them, but I think I still have a long way to go before I can be.”
He’s right, but the comparisons and hype are not going to stop. I think a year at a major program like Kansas is good for Wiggins — it’s a new level of spotlight that he needs to get used to because it’s only likely to get much brighter. He needs to learn how to adjust.
Wiggins will almost certainly one-and-done at Kansas this year and how he performs could impact his draft standing (this is a deep class with guys such as Dante Exum, Julius Randle and Aaron Goodwin among others will be in the mix). Still, expect that next June Wiggins will go No. 1, and that’s when the real comparisons will start.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.