Once upon a time, Andrew Wiggins was the first overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In his freshman year at Kansas, the 6’8 guard averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
The Cavaliers’ roster was stacked with young talent at that point.
Names like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark, Matthew Dellavedova, Alonzo Gee, and Jarrett Jack were already on the roster and Cleveland had hired first-year NBA head coach David Blatt.
Weeks after the NBA Draft, LeBron James, an Akron, Ohio native and Cleveland’s first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, returned to his hometown Northeast Ohio via free agency. He’d won two NBA Championships with the Miami Heat’s big three that consisted of he, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Wiggins was traded to the Golden State Warriors at the NBA’s trading deadline on Thursday.
On Saturday night, he and the Warriors went toe to toe with James’ Lakers. Wiggins finished with 24 points, two rebounds and three assists.
LeBron James’ stat line? 22 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.
LeBron James & Andrew Wiggins?
Million Dollar Question: What if those two played together?
Rewinding back to the 2014 NBA Draft, Wiggins said something to me that will always be legendary. I asked him if he’d be willing to play alongside LeBron James if he returned to Cleveland. “I want to win,” Wiggins told me.
“If he wants to win we’ll be good together.”
He didn’t bat an eye.
Unfortunately, James and Wiggins never got a chance to be Cleveland Cavaliers teammates.
Wiggins was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love. Love helped guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 2016 NBA Finals Championship alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving while Andrew Wiggins played with Karl Anthony Towns.
Minnesota was fun to watch at times. Other times…well not so much. There was the Jimmy Butler and Towns feud that ultimately forced the Wolves to trade Butler to the 76ers.
Then there was Derrick Rose’s resurgence in Minny.
Wiggins has played good basketball this year. People had high expectations for the former number overall pick.
Kobe Bryant’s Father Praises Andrew Wiggins
In a 2015 interview with the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, father of late Los Angeles Lakers great, Kobe Bryant, told me that Wiggins was a mini-Kobe. “I think the kid in Minnesota has a chance to be special…Wiggins,” Bryant told me.
“You talk about the size frame and those kind of things. Wiggins has the chance to be special, because really I don’t see anyone else. I don’t think there will be another Kobe or another Michael.”
Not surprising, Kobe Bryant said same similar things about Wiggins years ago. “I remember being Andrew Wiggins,” he said in 2014.
“I remember playing against Michael my first year. To be here tonight and to play against him, seeing the baby face and the little footwork or little technique things that he’s going to be much sharper at as time goes on — it was like looking at a reflection of myself 19 years ago. It was pretty cool.”