These past few weeks gave Cleveland fans their first look at one of the most talked about basketball prospects in recent memory, and their newest wing, Andrew Wiggins. Much was made of the No. 1 overall picks’ first NBA appearance, as he was set to square off with Jabari Parker, who was picked second in this June’s draft. That game and Andrew Wiggins lived up to its billing, as the Cavaliers were able to come away with a close win while watching him drop in an impressive 18 points and match-up with Parker for much of the game defensively. And that was just the beginning. Throughout Andrew Wiggins’ four games in Las Vegas, the Canadian rookie made headlines with a couple of incredible athletic finishes while also efficiently finding his way into the scoring column and making an impact on defense. So much so, that he was named as the second most impressive player in the Summer League by 34 of his peers in a HoopsHype.com survey. If this session was any indication, the Cavaliers have a player who can come in right away, as most assumed, and have a strong impact on a team that will be competing for a title.
Scoring Andrew Wiggins is mostly know, at this point, for his freakish ability to jump out of the gym and showcase an incredible athletic talent. This, of course, gives him an entire arsenal of weapons that will allow him to be effective this season alongside Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. The former Kansas forward will most likely find himself to be most effective this season as a slashing wing cutting to the basket and finishing at the rim. While not necessarily boasting the jump shot of a pure scorer in the NBA at this point, and with Irving and James drawing so much attention to themselves, Wiggins should be able to find his way through defenses for looks in the paint. Add that to the fact that James and Irving are each very dangerous in the open court and this team is going to be near impossible to stop in transition. During these four games, he averaged just over 15 points per game on 40 percent shooting from the field, though his efficiency numbers are sure to increase as the level of talent on the floor with him does so. At Kansas last season he was a very efficient scorer, as he was just under 45 percent from the field and maintained a strong 21.6 PER. Defensively After an impressive showing guarding some of the most talented players in this four-game session and tallying an impressive 1.5 blocks per game, it is safe to say the defensive end is probably where Andrew Wiggins could make the most impact this season in Cleveland. Alongside James on the wing, this could be one of the better teams in the NBA in terms of guarding the perimeter, which will be a nice change from the high percentage teams were able to shoot from beyond the arc against the Cavs last year. Not only will Andrew Wiggins help with his athleticism in chase-down blocks and getting out into transition after a rebound, but his ability to guard four positions on the floor will be a great asset for this team. With his ability on this end of the floor, it will allow James to, at times, move off of players like Carmelo Anthony and Paul George and give Andrew Wiggins an opportunity to shut them down. This will go a long way in helping James play more minutes and be more effective offensively. Not only that, but this will allow them to create nightmare match-up situations for the opposition due to having players being able to guard almost anyone on the floor at any given time. An increased emphasis on rebounding will go a long way for this team as well, especially with his ability to grab one and go coast-to-coast and score at the rim. He only averaged 3.5 rebounds per game this summer, but his seven rebounds per 40 minutes in college would be a great way for him to contribute on the defensive end as well.
This is obviously an exciting time in Cleveland and Andrew Wiggins’ performance so far in a Cavaliers uniform, albeit in exhibition games, should only help increase that excitement. This is a player, whom given the chance to do so, can become a star in this league with his natural talent in the future. At this point, though, he appears ready to be a big part of this championship chasing Cavaliers team.