Monday, May 13, 2013
Biancardi's Breakdown: Andrew Wiggins
By Paul Biancardi
Editor's note: This story originally ran on Feb. 28. With Andrew Wiggins' college decision on tap for Tuesday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. ET, here is a complete breakdown of his game from RecruitingNation's Paul Biancardi.
By now, you probably know that Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) is an extra-special prospect. The best high school basketball recruit in the country, Wiggins is the kind of player who doesn’t come around very often. He’ll make an immediate impact in college and then likely go on to a long, successful NBA career.
It’s no wonder some of college basketball’s best programs -- he’s down to Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas -- are salivating at the chance to get him on campus.
But what exactly makes him such an amazing prospect? Here’s a full scouting report of his game, complete with strengths, areas for improvement and what his ultimate potential could be.
NBA Athletic Ability
NBA-level athleticism is one of the attributes that makes Andrew Wiggins so special.
When it comes to utilizing his athleticism to produce on the floor, Wiggins stands alone. Because of his bloodlines he is blessed with sprinter’s speed, broad shoulders, natural strength, a stellar vertical leap and second jump that is uncommon. His dad, Mitchell, is a former Florida State basketball standout who had a brief career in the NBA, while his mother, Marita, was a track and field star at FSU who won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics running for Canada’s 4x400-meter relay team.
Wiggins make plays both offensively and defensively by using his athleticism to score, create fouls, rebound, defend, block shots and rack up steals.
A prime example would be how he uses his leaping ability in rebounding. Wiggins is one of the few players in the nation who doesn't have to block out on the defensive boards and can still come up with the rebound. On the offensive end he can rebound in traffic down low or clean the glass outside of his area with an explosive and powerful vertical jump. He can also rise up for a second jump in a split second even higher than his first jump and tip dunk for second-chance opportunities.
Wiggins scores best in the lane and at the foul line. At the end of games, most of his made field-goal attempts happen inside 15 feet, and more precisely in the painted area. What is so impressive is that opponents know where he will end up shooting from but they still can't stop him with one defender at this level.
An excellent finisher at the rim in transition or at the end of a dribble drive with a spin move, Wiggins can finalize the play with power, grace or body control.
His attacking nature off the bounce also creates contact and fouls out defenders, and he can score through contact for an old-fashioned three-point play. At the highest levels of basketball, the elite scorers know how to get to the free-throw line. Wiggins scores a third of his points from the charity stripe because defenses can't catch him or stop him, so they end up fouling him.
On the blocks he will post up and make a quick spin move away from his defender to score before the help arrives. When challenged by height and size, he can go around or even over a defender.
He is a capable shooter from the outside, but his jumper needs polishing and he is much more comfortable at the present time getting closer to the rim. When utilizing off-the-ball screens he will curl or straight cut to the elbow area or short corner for a jumper.
In pick-and-roll situations he will attack the paint regardless of what the defense does. If the defense double-teams or blitzes him, he will give it up. And if they switch the ball screen, he will drive it with success.
As Wiggins finishes his high school career working on his outside shot from both mid range and long range, it is imperative to do so off the catch or from a rhythm dribble. The game comes easy to him now because of his superior physical tools, so staying highly competitive and engaged in practice and games is important for him to develop and create good habits for the. To perform at his best, he needs to be highly self-motivated as opposed to picking his spots when he wants to play hard; this will be challenging for him.
His learning curve in college won't be about the physicality or speed of the game as much as it will be about developing ball-handling and shooting skills. A jump stop and a floater will be essential at the next level as the floor will shrink because the players will be bigger and more athletic and help defenses will be more prevalent. Learning the little things such as getting open will lead him to great heights in scoring and prepare him well for the highest level.
As he moves on someday to the NBA, learning to create space for himself will be vital and developing his basketball IQ will be an adjustment as it is for all young players. However, all of the above should happen because Wiggins has a teachable sprit that will expand his abilities. By practicing hard he will sharpen and develop his already-enormous talent.
Potential is a picture of what you can become. At 18 years old, Wiggins has a lot of time and a high ceiling to improve. Next year he will give whichever school he chooses a chance to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament -- possibly a Final Four or even a national championship.
But the fact is that he is just scratching the surface of what his potential will be. He will likely have a much greater impact in the NBA versus college because he will be in the NBA much longer and will have a chance to maximize his talents.
To succeed in the NBA and be a potential All-Star, a player must have a special skill set or physical tools to go along with a mindset to dominate and a thirst to be the best he can be. Andrew Wiggins is already very good. In time, he has a chance to be great.