A lot of people have written articles about why a trade involving the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Andrew Wiggins makes so much sense. For both teams. And here is my take on it.Simply put: it makes A LOT OF SENSE. If Cleveland thinks it’s going to win a championship this season, next season, or even the season after that, they are wrong. The only way Cleveland will win a championship in the next three seasons is if: 1. Kyrie Irving plays like an ABSOLUTE SUPERSTAR with LeBron James, and 2. Andrew Wiggins plays like an ABSOLUTE SUPERSTAR alongside Irving and James. If those things don’t happen, Cleveland won’t win.
So why would they wait on Wiggins instead of taking the sure-thing in Love? Well, it’s pretty clear they gave that answer on draft night. They drafted Wiggins instead of taking Jabari Parker, who went 2nd overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. Parker will be the leading scorer for the Bucks this season, unless something goes drastically wrong. Now, maybe Cleveland wanted Wiggins because he can play shooting guard and small forward, giving them more versatility, while Parker is strictly a small forward and could maybe get away with playing power forward for stretches during a game. However, Parker is the more NBA-ready player and Wiggins is more of a project. I have seen flashes from Wiggins during the NBA’s Summer League, but Summer League is Summer League and looks can be extremely deceiving. For example: Jonny Flynn. He was MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League and how long did he last in the NBA?
The biggest problem with Wiggins, as I stated earlier, is that he is a project and when was the last time the Cavaliers developed any draft pick since James was drafted in 2003? And James wasn’t a baby-faced 18-year-old. He was a grown-man.
point percentage and effective field goal percentage. Here are his numbers thanks to Basketball Reference.com.
If the Cavaliers traded Wiggins for Love, they would be receiving a guy who could help mask those numbers. Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season. Not only that, but Love attempted 633 free-throw attempts (ranking 5th in the NBA and made 520, ranking him 3rd) and that averages out to 8.2 attempts per game and 6.8 makes per game. He is one of the deadliest three-point shooting big mean in the game (190 makes last season at 37.6 percent) and arguably the best rebounder in the entire NBA. Pairing him with James would make for an absolutely lethal one-two punch and pick-and-pop combination. He is a proven NBA player, with career averages of 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in six NBA seasons.
And don’t forget, they have Irving as a solid third-option.
Meanwhile, Wiggins is a rookie and is coming off a mediocre season, at best, at Kansas. He had many games where he looked passive and not sure of himself on offense, including Kansas’ lost to Stanford in the NCAA Tournament. His 41-point outburst against West Virginia (with Joel Embiid out) was something a lot of NBA gm’s were hoping to see. The hype of Wiggins coming out of high school was unfair, and some even labeled him “The Next LeBron James”. I watched one highlight tape of him on YouTube, and I came to the conclusion that he couldn’t shoot. Wiggins managed to shoot 34.1 percent from three in his only season at Kansas. However, 126 attempts is a relatively small sample size considering Akeem Richmond, from East Carolina, attempted 392 three-pointers.
Wiggins is as athletic as basketball players come today, but he managed only 5.9 rebounds per game compared to Parker’s 8.7. Kawhi Leonard is a player who flew under-the-radar in the 2011 NBA draft, but was just named NBA Finals MVP this past June. If Wiggins could become half the player that Leonard seemed to be during the Finals, in his first season, the Cavaliers will be in good shape. However, if he turns out to be the rookie version of Gerald Green, when he was a rookie, Cav executives will be scratching their heads about why they didn’t trade him for Love.
Players like Love are extremely rare. Players with the athleticism of Wiggins are abundant in the NBA. Ninety-percent of the league is athletic. The Spurs just proved that a team doesn’t need athleticism to win. Rather, versatility is more important. And while I did say Wiggins is somewhat versatile in the way that he can play two positions, the comparisons to his versatility and Love’s versatility stop there. At this point in their respective careers, a rookie NBA coach like David Blatt could do a helluva lot more with a guy like Love than Wiggins. It’s not a knock on Wiggins. Love is just better in every single way, despite not being an “athlete”.
It’s said that the Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin, a rookie General Manager in his own right, won’t involve Wiggins in any trade. Blatt “said” the same thing.
I guess the rookies plan on keeping the rookie who may cost them their jobs, especially if he doesn’t pan-out.
Good luck finding another job.
Oh, and I’m a Timberwolves fan.