Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Class of 2013-16: NBA Comparisons of #1 Recruits!!! (Andrew Wiggins)


Written by: Prospect-Central

Making player comparisons is the nature of the business. The majority of the time these comparisons are way off base, but it's fun none the less. There are many things to take into consideration when comparing high school standouts to NBA stars, but even if they share similarities in their game, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll have the same type of success.

While a players size, handles, jumper, vision, athleticism, strength, work ethic, and even facial features are all used in making comparisons, there's really no concrete way to determine if they'll end up with the same type of NBA career or not. How far these four high school hoopers go in the game of basketball will ultimately be up to their desire and passion, and there's no measuring stick for that.

Since only one of these players is eighteen years old, they obviously have a lot of time to mature physically as well as mentally. With that being said, you should take these comparisons with a grain of salt.

Whether they live up to the hype, or crumble under the pressure, they will certainly have the opportunity to showcase their skills at the highest level. You already know what they say about opinions, but here's Prospect-Central's NBA comparisons for the #1 recruits in the Class of 2013-16. * Below is the NBA comparison for Andrew Wiggins; #1 recruit Class of 2013.

Wiggins gives new meaning to the term facial
Andrew Wiggins sf / 6'7'' 205 / Toronto Ont., CAN
What can be said about Andrew Wiggins that hasn't already been said before. The kid is going to be a flat out star. If you think Dickie V goes crazy over diaper dandies now, get ready to hit the mute button next season, because he's about to lose his $#@!

The fact that Wiggins has superstar potential was one of the reasons making a player comparison for him was somewhat difficult. A lot of times these high school standouts have no realistic chance of living up to the comparison, but with Wiggins, he actually might surpass it.

Lets look at Wiggins measurables first. At 6-foot-7 (possibly 6'8''), 205 pounds, Wiggins has nice size for an NBA small forward, but it's his 7-foot wingspan that really sets him apart from his peers. His frame seems more than capable of putting on weight, as he clearly has all the physical tools to be an elite NBA wing for years to come.

When it comes to athleticism, Wiggins is untouchable. Besides LeBron James, you'll be hard pressed to find another athlete in the NBA as dynamic as the Canadian superstar. With an explosive first step and insane leaping ability, Wiggins will be able to get his shot off anywhere on the floor.

As far as all around skill level is concerned, Wiggins has all the tools necessary to dominate at the highest level and beyond. He has solid handles to go along with an explosive first step, a very effective pull up jumper, 3-point accuracy, a crafty mid-range game, and the body control to finish through contact. Put it this way, if Andrew Wiggins wants to score, he's gonna get a bucket, it's just that simple.

As good as Wiggins is on offense, it's on the defensive side of the ball where he might really be a game changer. Once again, he doesn't have the size of LeBron, so he won't be able to check a center, but due to his length and speed, he'll be able to legitimately shut down wings and guards. He plays the passing lanes extremely well, shows excellent timing when blocking shots, and for the most part gives solid effort on that side of the ball.

Pippen with the 'Leaning Tower of Pisa' dunk
As we all know, a players mental makeup is just as important as their physical attributes. For Andrew Wiggins, it's not so much his basketball IQ people question, but rather his competitive spirit and work ethic. Because the game comes so easy to him, he might not practice as much as he should, but to question his competitive spirit, that has no merit in my opinion.

A recent Sports Illustrated article questioned his competitive spirit. Wiggins responded by dropping 57 points that same day. The truly great players have the burning desire to be the best. If Andrew Wiggins doesn't rest on his laurels and reaches his full potential, you might as well make a place for him in Springfield now.

So, who is a favorable comparison for an elite 6-foot-7 wing, with unrivaled athleticism, a high offensive skill set, shutdown defensive capabilities, and superstar potential?

Three names come to mind; Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James. I definitely see similarities with Wiggins in all three players, but his physical attributes don't quite match up. Both Jordan and Kobe are 6-foot-6 guards, so that takes them out of the equation, and LeBron James is just way too strong. Wiggins doesn't have the vision of LeBron either.

Which brings us to two players that not only match up to Wiggins from a physical standpoint, but form skill level, athleticism, and overall star potential; Scottie Pippen and Tracy McGrady. At 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, Pippen and Wiggins have very similar frames. Wiggins obviously needs to bulk up, but he's only eighteen years old. Like Wiggins, Scottie Pippen had a ridiculous wingspan for his position at 7'3''.

Some other similarities between the two, Pippen's shut down defense, excellent ball handling skills, 3-point range, terrific athleticism, and the ability to finish through contact. Since Pippen was second banana to Jordan, he wasn't as much of an offensive threat that he could have been, and that's where the two players differ. Wiggins will light up the scoreboards, while Pippen was more of a play maker. Be that as it may, if Wiggins can have the same type of career Scottie Pippen had, I would consider that a success.

People seem to forget how dominant Tracy McGrady was a decade ago. If it wasn't for injuries, McGrady's career would have ended on a much higher note. At 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, with a 7'1'' wingspan, McGrady is another player who's physical attributes match that of Wiggins. Once again, Wiggins needs to add strength to truly make it a favorable comparison, but McGrady was even skinnier than Wiggins coming out of high school.

McGrady on the verge of a monster throw down
Where Wiggins compared to Pippen on the defensive side of the ball, his offensive game resembles Tracy McGrady more. McGrady could score anywhere on the floor, while literally taking over a game on that side of the ball. Something Wiggins should be able to emulate quite well. McGrady had elite athleticism also, boasting a 42-inch vertical leap back in the day. Wiggins trumps that however, with a 44-inch vertical leap. Lets not forget, McGrady was the #1 recruit coming out of high school in 1997, something Wiggins can obviously relate to. I will go out on a limb now though, and say Andrew Wiggins will not be ending his career in China :)

Two other NBA players that compare to Andrew Wiggins from a physical standpoint and skill level; Rudy Gay and Paul George. All three are exceptional athletes, have nice offensive repertoires, and are relatively the same size. In Paul George's case, Wiggins is very similar defensively. I would never want to disrespect any of the previously mentioned NBA players, but Andrew Wiggins might actually become better than all four of them. He's certainly a better player now than they were at the same stage of their careers.

Andrew Wiggins recently finished up his senior year at Huntington Prep (WV), and definitely lived up to the hype. He averaged 23.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 2.4 spg, and took home Naismith National Player of the Year honors in the process. He's also been selected to compete in the Jordan Brand Classic, as well as the McDonald's All-American game. FSU, Kansas, Kentucky, and UNC are his four schools of choice, and if he isn't Freshman of the Year in college basketball next season, I'll be shocked. In essence, Andrew Wiggins is so good, he shouldn't be compared to NBA players, NBA players should be compared to him.

NBA Comparisons of #1 Recruits
2014 / 2015 / 2016

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