With the NBA season less than a week away from officially starting, you’ve probably noticed we’ve been pumping out enough preview content to bury even Hasheem Thabeet. Over the next week, we’ll be taking a look at the 10 biggest storylines of the 2013-14 season. Today, we’re focusing on a guy who won’t even be in the NBA this year…
[RELATED: The 10 Biggest Storylines Of The NBA Season: The Battle For NYC]
[RELATED: The 10 Biggest Storylines Of The NBA Season: The Return Of The Injured Superstars]
[RELATED: The 10 Biggest Storylines Of The NBA Season: The Pacers Are The New "Bad Boys"]
[RELATED: The 10 Biggest Storylines Of The NBA Season: The Wild Wild West]
*** *** ***
Every year, a select few NBA teams position themselves to get one thing. Most years, this would refer to the Larry O’Brien trophy, but 2014 won’t bring you your ordinary June. An 18-year-old kid by the name of Andrew Wiggins is altering the NBA as much as any player since LeBron James.
Think I’m just caught up in the hype of another teenage phenom? Search YouTube. Each video will leave your jaw firmly attached to the floor. The scariest part about Wiggins is that he has the potential to be better. The guy that GMs and scouts are going gaga over isn’t even a finished product yet. An ultra athletic 6-8 forward with a 6-11 wingspan, and North America’s quickest first step, won’t be 19 until February, 2014.
With June half a year away, teams are already setting themselves up to acquire him in the draft. Basically, they’re tanking. A lot of iffy moves happened this offseason and they definitely won’t be the last, either. However, there are a few teams that have taken an early lead in the race for Wiggins.
Teams like the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers all just so happened to decide this season would be the best time to rebuild and retool their rosters (rebuild and retool is front office speak for “tank”). The Sixers traded away a 23-year-old All-Star for a rookie still recovering from a torn ACL, Nerlens Noel, and the biggest asset moved in that deal was the New Orleans Pelicans 2014 first-round pick. The Jazz let their frontcourt duo of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap leave for greener pastures and now sport a probable starting five that features three former bench players and a rookie. Finally, the Suns’ biggest move so far has been trading for a backup point guard – no disrespect to Eric Bledsoe. These three teams will lose often, which is exactly what they will need to do to get Wiggins.
Then there are the teams gathering pieces to make their play for the Canadian sensation through a trade: the Boston Celtics, the Sacramento Kings and the Orlando Magic. The Celtics are in total disarray. Gone are all the Big Three and head coach Doc Rivers for safe measure – he probably could coach this year’s Celtics team into a .500 record by accident. Rajon Rondo is the only star left, but he is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for the team’s final 50 games. With wunderkind Brad Stevens taking over the ranks, it’s likely Rondo will be the next to leave the house that Red Auerbach built.
The Sacramento Kings haven’t been right since the Los Angeles Lakers shot 203,792 free throws in Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Their roster is guard heavy and weighed down by the talented but temperamental DeMarcus Cousins. Maybe Cousins needs a change of scenery to fulfill his true potential. If that means the Kings could possibly end up with Wiggins, I think they pack Cousins’ bags for him.
Lastly there’s the Magic. Rob Hennigan would like to remind those who laughed at him for the Dwight Howard trade that Orlando is the only team to still have the acquired players on their roster. The Magic has a roster full of young talent. If Hennigan is able to turn a disgruntled Dwight into Victor Oladipo and Wiggins, I think the Executive of the Year should be renamed in his honor.
In the next nine months you’ll hear the name Andrew Wiggins almost daily. You better get used to it, seeing as once he finally makes his long awaited NBA debut there will only be more eyes and more attention.
Which team is the best fit for Wiggins?
Follow Brandon on Twitter at @DOTcom_2.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.