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.
DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).
After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.
Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.