BROOKLYN – Andrew Wiggins would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft had he been permitted to enter it. Top-pick status wasn’t quite a birthright for him, but he’s held prodigy status since middle school.
Yet, a year at Kansas threatened to derail his ascent to the stage at Barclays Center. For a while, his Jawhawk teammate, Joel Embiid, passed him on most draft boards. Jabari Parker never stopped threatening. Even Dante Exum made a surprisingly strong case to go first overall.
But by the time Wiggins arrived in Brooklyn on Thursday, he was determined to make this night his.
Wearing a black and white flowery suit jacket and a black bowtie, Wiggins listened to Adam Silver call his name No. 1. From there Wiggins, dressed to the nines and holding a place in history, was all smiles.
“We just wanted to do something really different to just stand out and try to win on both points – stylish points and become No. 1,” Wiggins said.
We’ll never know what Wiggins would have said had he fallen past Cleveland, but you don’t wear that suit if you think you might fall. The outfit screams confidence, not a prospect moping over a draft-night tumble.
Look the part, be the part.
“I always wanted to be the No. 1 pick,” Wiggins said.
This became the night Wiggins wanted, but because he’s headed to the Cavaliers, he can’t even take the spotlight without LeBron James getting mentioned. Asked to make a pitch for LeBron returning to Cleveland, Wiggins smiled big before answering.
“I want to win,” Wiggins said. “If he wants to win, we’d be good together.”
Wiggins also deftly sidestepped another potential landmine in a question about whether the draft should even exist to push labor to specific markets. It’s a complex legal issue with valid arguments about economics and collusion.
“I don’t mind it,” Wiggins said with another smile.
Of course he doesn’t. This draft, after years of anticipation, treated him oh so well.
The questions continued for Wiggins, many about what this means for Canada and Kansas. He grinned through all of them.
It’s a good moment for Canada, he said. It’s a good moment for Kansas, he said.
Mostly, it’s a good moment for Andrew Wiggins.