Andrew Wiggins Must Lead Kansas to Success to Lock Down 2014 NBA Draft Stock

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2013

Apr 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonald's All American East forward Andrew Wiggins (22) dunks the ball against the McDonald's All American West during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins freshman season at Kansas Jayhawks will serve as a season-long interview as to why he should be the top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft

The hype train surrounding the 18-year-old commit is already at full bore. Even NBA experts like Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy believe that he will be top pick in next year's draft:


As Chris Sheridan points out, this isn't just any draft class. The upcoming class of prospects is considered by many to be among the best crops of talent in a long time. 


It's difficult to find anyone that isn't high on the 6'7" small forward. Especially after his first possession in a Kansas scrimmage resulted in a thunderous dunk over NBA center Cole Aldrich. 

However, Wiggins can't afford to buy into his own hype. As talented as he is, winning in Lawrence will be vital to his draft stock.

Yes, team success isn't always the greatest indicator of draft stock. Plenty of top NBA draft picks don't lead their team to deep runs in the NCAA basketball tournament. It's possible that the top pick in the 2013 draft didn't even lead his team to a tournament berth. 

But Wiggins isn't the only superstar recruit in his class. He'll face tough competition for the No. 1 spot. Should Wiggins struggle to shine in a season where he's sure to be under the microscope every week, prospects like Jabari Parker of Duke and Julius Randle of Kentucky will be doing their best to steal the No. 1 spot on team's big board.

When examining why Wiggins must show that he can lead a team, the case of Shabazz Muhammad has to come to mind. That isn't to say that Wiggins is bound the be the next Muhammad. After all, the UCLA forward was the No. 2 recruit in his class according to ESPN, not No. 1.

However, he did receive a fair amount of hype to be the No. 1 pick overall. Now, according to some such as ESPN's Chad Ford, he could be going as low as No. 18. 

What caused Muhammad's stock to plummet?

He was not an efficient scorer—shooting just 44.3 percent from the field—and he didn't push UCLA to college basketball's elite. They went just 25-10 and were blown out in the first round of the tournament by Minnesota. 

Like Muhammad, the bar will be set high at Kansas. Likely lottery pick Ben McLemore led the Jayhawks to a 31-6 campaign last season which included a trip to the Sweet 16. 

Wiggins will need to prove that he can make the Jayhawks even more successful if he wants to lock up the top spot in the 2014 draft.