Andrew Wiggins wants you to stop comparing him to LeBron, Durant

43 Comments

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.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

Getty Images
13 Comments

DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.