Head to head: Andrew Wiggins should be No. 1

Parker Robb | The Collegian Star KU freshman guard Andrew Wiggins shoots a floater above the head of Eastern Kentucky's Marcus Lewis in the first half of the Jayhawks' defeat of the Colonels in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament March 21 in St. Louis. Wiggins declared for the NBA draft March 31 after only a single year at KU.

Andrew Wiggins has everything NBA scouts look for in a No. 1 overall pick. The 19-year-old small forward couples freak athleticism with amazing talent and immense upside. Some of the other projected top picks (like Jabari Parker) might contribute more as rookies, but Wiggins will become a superstar. For teams that are trying to rebuild and have their top pick at the focal point, much like the New Orleans Pelicans did with Anthony Davis, Wiggins is the man. His boney shoulders and lanky frame can handle the weight of an entire organization.

At 6 feet 8 inches with a 7 foot wingspan, Wiggins is a matchup nightmare. Defensively, Wiggins has no equal in this class. His lateral quickness and vertical jump will allow him to guard the best players in the NBA. In addition, his body will continue to mature and add muscle, meaning his defensive potential is far from maximized. Can you imagine having a player that could guard Kevin Durant one night, then turn around and guard Chris Paul? After a few years of development and coaching, Wiggins might just be able to do that.

Offensively, Wiggins is a gem. As a freshman at KU, the Toronto native averaged just over 17 points per game on roughly 45 percent shooting. Even more impressive is that he put up those stats while running a high-low scheme that focused primarily on getting the ball inside to the post. With his amazing instincts in transition, and silky smooth jumper, you have a kid that could easily average between 22 and 25 points per game while snatching double digit rebounds on a nightly basis. Rarely do we see someone so athletic be as polished and advanced on the offensive end as Wiggins is.

There are certainly weaknesses in Wiggins’ game, but they are easily correctable with good coaching. First and foremost, Wiggins is too unselfish. Some people say that is a problem, but for me, that ranks near the bottom of the list. If I can draft a 19-year-old kid who would prefer to distribute the basketball and defer to his teammates, I would be thrilled. Secondly, Wiggins struggled at times when attacking the basket, especially when there was contact. Playing through a bump or a hit and focusing on the rim even when there are bodies flying below you is something that takes lots of practice. As he matures and begins to grow into his frame, you will quickly see that become less of a problem.

There are things about every prospect that have scouts drooling over this year’s draft class. If they weren’t great talents, they wouldn’t be projected lottery picks. Even still, Wiggins stands about the rest. His amazing physical gifts, combined with his potential to be a two-way performer at an elite level, make him a surefire No. 1 overall pick.

David Embers is a junior in biology. Please send comments to sports@kstatecollegian.com.