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Posts tagged with Cleveland Cavs

LeBron James’ review of Andrew Wiggins: ‘He’s a great talent’

Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins (22) is fouled by Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Cleveland. Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 27 points, but the Cavaliers won 125-104. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins (22) is fouled by Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Cleveland. Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 27 points, but the Cavaliers won 125-104. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

When he wants to, Andrew Wiggins can play with an edge.

In a three-game slump (6.3 points per game, 7-for-27 shooting) heading into the rookie’s very first meeting with the team that drafted him, Cleveland, and superstar LeBron James, the Kansas product indeed looked motivated to show the Cavaliers they should have kept him around — or at the very least remind them of what they’re missing.

Wiggins outscored LeBron, 27-24, (but not Kyrie Irving, who added 29 for Cleveland) and the leading candidate for rookie of the year made another highlight reel to add to his résumé by hitting 9 of 16 from the floor.

Though his Timberwolve (5-22) still had no chance at Cleveland (17-10), Wiggins Vined the Cavs’ defense on one possession with a jam that must have had Cavs fans wondering — maybe just momentarily — how the 19-year-old Canadian would look in wine and gold.

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Showing more professionalism that bitterness or envy, Wiggins said in a column by The News Herald’s Jim Ingraham he isn’t holding any grudges toward Cleveland — a place he said earlier this week he called home for “like three days.”

“I’m being put in a bigger position, a bigger role (with Minnesota) than I would’ve been on that team,” Wiggins said. “That’s helping me grow more mentally and physically.”

Like Kobe Bryant earlier this month, the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda reported, James had a glowing review of Wiggins, a potential future star in The Association.

“He’s a great talent,” James said. “We all knew that for sure. He’s very poised and very efficient. They got a good piece.”

After the 125-104 loss, the Timberwolves’ sixth in a row, Wiggins reiterated the matchup with Cleveland, who picked him No. 1 overall in June, then moved him in a trade to land Kevin Love, provided added inspiration.

“I’m a competitor so it’s fun for me,” he told the Star Tribune. “I’m sure it’s fun for him (James) and fun for fans to see. He’s one of the best players in the league, so I think I learned a lot. He can score in a lot of different ways and impact the game a lot of different ways.”


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

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Andrew Wiggins to face Cavs, LeBron

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) moves the ball on a breakaway against Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) moves the ball on a breakaway against Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)

We’ve already heard an NBA legend by the name of Kobe Bryant sees some similarities between a younger version of himself and rookie Andrew Wiggins.

So perhaps we should’ve seen more comparisons for the one-and-done Kansas product coming.

Do we really need a detailed breakdown to determine whether Wiggins is better right now than LeBron James was when he was a rookie?

Absolutely not.

YOUNG LeBRON VS. YOUNG WIGGINS PPG RPG APG TOPG FG% 3-PT% FT%
LeBron James at 19
(2003-04: rookie season, 79 games)
20.9 5.5 5.9 3.5 .417 .290 .754
Andrew Wiggins at 19
(2014-15: rookie season, through 26 games)
12.0 4.0 1.3 2.0 .385 .364 .702

However, the power of the Internet and the folks at ESPN.com have provided just that. David Thorpe gives in-depth analysis of the future Hall of Famer, James, as a 19-year-old, and the future who-knows-exactly-what-he’ll-turn-out-to-be, Wiggins, on ESPN Insider.

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Obviously, as Thorpe details, Wiggins isn’t as powerful as James was back in the 2002-03 season, nor does the Minnesota rookie possess LeBron’s ball-handling and distributing skills.

The breakdown did give Wiggins the advantage defensively, and as a shooter, though — which serves as a nice reminder that, despite what we heard when he was in high school, the young Canadian simply projects as a different type of player than the guy who is better at basketball than anyone else on the planet. And that’s OK.

There at least is a method to this maddening exercise. Wiggins and James will play against each other for the first time Tuesday night — 6 p.m., NBATV.

Not only does this give Wiggins a chance to go up against LeBron, it also allows the No. 1 overall pick to face the team that drafted him and traded him away before the season began.

As Wiggins said in a piece for Timberwolves.com, facing Cleveland should motivate him — “I think that’s obvious,” he added.

Since scoring 16 points against the L.A. Lakers and drawing Kobe’s praises, Wiggins hasn’t broken the 10-point barrier in three straight games, scoring 9 at Washington, 5 at Boston and 5 again vs. Indiana.

We’ll see how he responds for this one, with far more observers anticipating the matchup and waiting to make more comparisons.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

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