Basketball nerds already know his name, and casual fans should look up a highlight reel if they haven’t already. Andrew Wiggins is far and away the most exciting prospect since Lebron James. Combining freakish athleticism, body control and nasty low-post maneuvering, he has relentlessly dominated other high school players in his senior year. Headed for Kansas, Wiggins will get even better under talented coach Bill Self before he finishes his one-and-done season. Right now, the only knock against him stemming from scouts is that, while an excellent ballhandler, he doesn’t seem totally confident with the rock in the halfcourt. Put differently, he isn’t quite a point-forward in the mold of James or Magic Johnson — at least, not yet.
What everyone can agree on is that Higgins is a franchise-altering talent. In a draft loaded with big names and intriguing prospects — Jabrai Parker, Marcus Smart, and Julius Randle, to name a few — Higgins is the biggest prize. As such, teams are tanking for a shot at drafting him first overall, much like many NFL teams did for Andrew Luck. Here is a look at the teams who have the best shot at being the worst:
Shortly after the freshly-branded New Orleans Pelicans drafted Nerlens Noel #6 overall, GM Sam Hinkie traded away his best player, Jrue Holiday, for the injured Kentucky prospect. It was a brilliant move for a team aiming to tank — coming off of an injured knee, Noel won’t be healthy enough to play until December. Regardless of how much of a game-changer he turns out to be, it won’t affect the win column until halfway into the season. Considering they’re likely looking to trade their talented young forwards, the 76ers might even get worse — a move that could pay off down the line.
The Celtics team blew up with the trade of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but wide-eyed fans still think they have a shot at the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Celtics, there might be some truth to these rose-colored projections. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley are athletic young talents, and Rondo is in his prime. If the Celtics truly want to rebuild, it may be worth trading away Rondo, the last holdover of their championship runs.
The team is currently a source of speculation for analysts trying to predict Clippers backup Eric Bledsoe’s eventual home. But the odds are that the Magic won’t pull any big trades. This team finished with the worst record in the NBA and wound up with the second overall pick in the draft. With a roster that’s currently full of potential but no real talent (Victor Oladipo won’t be able to do it all himself), they’ll let the roster develop, lose frequently and badly and enjoy their new prospect come draft day.