The final entry on our list is by far the highest pick, one of the few first-overall picks to be traded away after he was drafted but before he played a minute for his team. After taking the Kansas wing first in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers learned LeBron James was coming to town and pivoted into “win-now” mode, moving Wiggins as the centerpiece of a package for Minnesota big man Kevin Love.
Wiggins had a prolific start to his career, followed by a rocky patch as he struggled to be a high-scoring offensive option on a winning team. When the Jimmy Butler experiment fell apart, the Wolves were open to moving Wiggins and did so, sending him to the Golden State Warriors. With the Warriors Wiggins blossomed in a role perfectly designed for him, and he made an All-Star team and was a key part of their championship team in 2022.
The Cavs likely don’t regret the trade that they made, with Love serving an important role on the team over the next few seasons as they made the NBA Finals four years in a row. Even so, it is a bittersweet fact that the Cavs had the first overall pick three times in four seasons and essentially only got six seasons of Kyrie Irving from them.
Andrew Wiggins, Charles Oakley and Jamal Crawford highlight the list of players who passed through the Cleveland Cavaliers without ever making it their home.