Best-Case, Worst-Case NBA Comparisons for Canadian Phenom Andrew Wiggins

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 24, 2013

April 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA;  McDonald's All American forward Andrew Wiggins (22) poses for portraits before the 36th McDonalds All American Games to be played at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Andew Wiggins has been labeled the NBA's next great superstar before he's even stepped foot on a college floor.

He's been absolutely dominant at the high school level, being named to any and every select team on the domestic or international stage. Wiggins is most recently coming off a 17-point, nine-board, four-assist game at the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit, adding to the belief he'll be 2014's top NBA draft pick.

Looking at Wiggins' physical profile, it's his effortless athleticism that jumps out at you first. The best way to put it is that he dunks on the way down.

It appears as if there are actually springs in the bottom of Wiggins' shoes, or that the floor he graces is a trampoline disguised with hardwood.

Wiggins plays with a bounce to his step that allows him to separate from his defender whenever he feels it's the right time to do so. That could be rising and firing on the perimeter, pulling back in the mid-range or attacking the rim as a high flier.

In terms of his measurements, Wiggins grew an inch since last season, measuring out to 6'8'' in sneakers. He also sports an excellent 7'0'' wingspan which helps in the shot-creating department with regard to getting them off cleanly.

At only 195 pounds, his lack of muscle and strength is the only cause for concern, but you can keep the red flags in your pocket. Most of the great scoring wings didn't add bulk until after they got into the league when their workouts intensified and their bodies matured. Just go ahead and check what LeBron James looked like in high school.

Getting into his skill set, Wiggins projects as a No. 1 scoring option for half-court points. He's someone you can give the ball to and watch him go to work, with decisive isolation ball skills and the ability to create.

If we're talking about Wiggins' ceiling comparison, the name that comes to mind would be former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady. 

Physically, they're very much alike—incredibly athletic, long, wiry and bouncy. But in terms of their offense, the resemblance is even more spot on.

They can work from every area on the floor using any angle to operate. And once they get into the lane they can beat defenses in a variety of different ways.

Wiggins really excels in the mid-range, where he illustrates an incredibly accurate touch on runners, floaters and off-balance shots on the move. And that's only when the clear path to the bucket is taken away.

When the runway is clear for takeoff, both Wiggins and McGrady have the hops and explosiveness to sky high above the rim and throw down with force.

As scorers, each is capable of taking over a game, which can be attributed to their ability to separate and convert.

Along with being an effective shot-creator, McGrady was an extremely confident and reliable shot-maker. Fadeaways, step-backs, pull-ups, runners—there wasn't a shot in the book he couldn't knock down with comfort.

Wiggins has that ability to create his own looks, but whether he reaches McGrady status or not will depend on his consistency, conversion rate and ability to get easy half-court points.

If he struggles with perimeter consistency and getting those easy points routinely, Wiggins could hit his floor comparison: Rudy Gay—a pretty solid worst-case scenario.

Gay and Wiggins are similar from a physical standpoint—long, athletic, smooth operating wings. But what separates Gay from the great scorers in the game is his inconsistency on the perimeter and inability to get himself routine easy buckets.

Too many of Gay's shot attempts are tough, and though he's capable of knocking them down, it's not going to happen with consistent volume.

All too often, Gay can go off for 27 points on 8-of-18 and follow up with five points on 2-of-7.

McGrady averaged over 24 points per game in seven straight seasons. He was scoring in volume every single night, and that's because he was money in the mid-range and dangerous from downtown, but knew how to get himself easy points.

Only once has Gay averaged at least five free-throw attempts per game. McGrady averaged at least seven free-throw attempts six different times (one year 9.7 attempts and another 6.9).

This is what I mean by easy points. And if Wiggins figures out how to get them, he'll have an opportunity to become a volume scorer just like Tracy McGrady was.

If Wiggins struggles to discover these routes for easy points, chances are he can still average 19 or 20 a game like Rudy Gay because of his natural talent and elite athletic ability. But learning the tricks of the trade and how to exploit every defensive hole will give Wiggins a chance at becoming a premier NBA scorer, regular All-Star and franchise centerpiece.