A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the superhuman thing freshman forward Andrew Wiggins did the very first time he got the ball in his hands in a Kansas scrimmage game. Though Wiggins has yet to play a real game of college ball, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll be the first overall selection in next year’s NBA Draft. He’s been called the best prospect since LeBron James.
Of course, NBA teams have taken note. And it appears they’re about to take action — by intentionally tanking the 2013-14 season in order to maximize their chances of winning the top pick in the NBA Draft Lottery.
For instance, it’s being reported that the Toronto Raptors are mulling a trade offer from the Detroit Pistons that would see the team send Rudy Gay to the Motor City in exchange for Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva — two players who are nowhere near the level of Gay, but who have expiring contracts that would come off the books at a very convenient time should the Raptors go the “tank for Wiggins” route.
Quick aside: we need to come up with a better name than “tank for Wiggins.” This stuff has to rhyme, dammit. The NFL had “suck for (Andrew) Luck.” Wiggins is, admittedly, tougher to work with, but there has to be something for us. “Diggin’ for Wiggins,” perhaps? It’s not great, but it’s a start.
On the surface, it sounds insane that the Raptors would consider trading away the team’s best player — and one it only acquired midway through this past season — for essentially nothing, but it makes a lot more sense when you watch tape of Wiggins. The desire for the dynamic youngster is even stronger in Toronto when you consider that he’s a Canadian.
The Raptors won’t be the only team considering this strategy, however. Every NBA team that doesn’t believe a championship is possible next season should at least consider rebuilding with Wiggins (or one of the other players at the top of what’s expected to be the strongest draft class in years). Teams like the New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns all fit this mold.