After weeks of rumor after rumor, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin decided to keep his No. 1 overall selection—taking Andrew Wiggins from Kansas. The No. 1 overall player in this draft on many people’s board since he was in high school, Wiggins beat out Duke’s Jabari Parker for the right to be taken first overall.
At the end of the day, the Cleveland Cavaliers really couldn’t go wrong with either player—but Wiggins’ elite athleticism and next level defensive abilities won out for the front office. A dedicated, intense player, Wiggins will bring 100 percent effort on both ends of the court (yes, I understand some have questioned his motor at the collegiate level) and an excellent work ethic to the franchise.
Many are concerned about how long it could take for Wiggins’ offensive game to develop, however, the things he does well will be maximized in the offense of new head coach, David Blatt. Utilizing a lot of pick and roll and a series of backcuts which are staples of the Princeton offense, Wiggins should be able to utilize his supreme athleticism to get plenty of open looks while his jump shot develops and adjusts to the NBA game.
It is intriguing that we say Wiggins’ offense is going to take time to develop, because he is the type of player who should be able to score 15-17 points a night based off his athleticism alone. Add in the defensive focus on a player like Kyrie Irving, and you are talking about a player who realistically has a shot at averaging 20 points per game as a rookie in a season in which many people think he will struggle to develop a jump shot. If that’s struggling, I cannot wait to see what happens when he “develops.”
On top of all of his on the court positives, Wiggins has already done a very good job at endearing himself to Cavs fans and members of the media. When asked about LeBron James and the possibility of playing together Wiggins stated, “If he wants to win, we’d be good together.”
Not only is Wiggins seemingly already recruiting for his new team, he is pretty passionate about being a very good player for the Cavaliers as well. When asked about how good he can be, Wiggins responded, “I think I can be a great player, I want to be one of the best. That comes with hard work and dedication and sacrifice. That’s what I need to do to become the best.”
With Wiggins’ mind completely set on being one of the best, it is safe to say the Cavaliers got exactly what they wanted in a No. 1 overall pick after fumbling the selection in a very, very weak class a year ago. Though I’m not ruling Anthony Bennett out by any means—especially after a season plagued with injuries and playing for a head coach notorious for impeding young player development—it is safe to say that Wiggins will have a much better first year in the league than his fellow Canadian.
Speaking of fellow Canadians, you truly could not pick a better situation for a kid that just turned 19-years old. Not only does the team already have a budding All-Star in Irving, but he gets to play with two players he has been close with for quite some time in Bennett and Tristan Thompson. All from Canada and good friends, having guys like Bennett and Thompson on his team should help ease the transition from college to the NBA.
While Wiggins is the most high profile selection of the draft, he wasn’t the only player taken by the Cavaliers on Thursday night.
Using the No. 33 overall selection (third in round two), the Cleveland Cavaliers selected another Cavalier—this one from Virginia—in shooting guard, Joe Harris.
Not known by many who only pay attention to first-round prospects, Harris actually brings a very important skill set to the Cavaliers—the ability to knock down jump shots from all over the floor. He shot 40.7 percent from three-point land during his collegiate career, and is an excellent catch and shoot guy. With players like Irving and Dion Waiters driving and dishing, Harris could carve out quite the niche for himself in the Cavaliers rotation.
On top of being an excellent catch and shoot player, Harris is also constantly moving without the ball to get open—something Blatt and the Cavaliers new coaching staff will love. He is also known as a gritty defender, despite not being an elite athlete or having elite speed. Harris will give 100 percent on both ends of the court—which has been something Griffin echoed throughout press conferences, and clearly values with his first two selections.
The night came and went without a blockbuster trade that many people were expecting, but at the end of the night the Cavaliers made two excellent additions to their roster. Wiggins has the star power and superstar potential, while Harris could be a solid rotational guy who is perfect to play alongside multiple star players (hint, hint).
Now the attention will shift squarely on free agency and whether or not the Cavaliers can attract the likes of James to their team. With a young roster full of talented players, plenty of tradeable assets and a bevy of cap space, let’s just say Griffin and the front office have quite the case to make for themselves over the next two weeks.