Pending any major moves, the Cleveland Cavaliers should select Andrew Wiggins with the No.1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, and a key analytic statistic would be in congress with that decision.
Wiggins often gets criticized for a relatively average usage rate for a player of his caliber. As a 6-8, athletic wing, the thinking is the 19-year-old needs to do more with the ball in his hands.
According to Basketball Reference.com, Wiggins posted a 26.3 percent usage rate, which ranked sixth in the Big 12.
For comparison’s sake, Duke’s Jabari Parker’s was a 32.7 clip, which was second in the ACC.
With Wiggins coming to a team that already has two ball-dominant guards, the Cavs and new GM David Griffin would be wise to find a player who can fit with the pieces already in place, instead of taking another player with ball dominating skills, who doesn’t fit the puzzle.
Cleveland.com columnist and longtime NBA writer Terry Pluto talked in his weekly podcast about how fit, and not talent, can be the difference between losing and finding sustained success. Tune into the 15 minute mark for the conversation.
“…I thought Griffin was so correct when he was stressing fit. It isn’t just players have to have ability, their skills have to make sense.”
Pluto continued, explaining why finding the right fit has translated into so much success for the Spurs.
“Tim Duncan doesn’t have to have the ball all the time. [Manu] Ginobili is called a high usage player, he has the ball quite a bit, and [Tony] Parker does too, but Kawhi Leonard, he gets fast breaks and he takes jump shots. He doesn’t need the ball a ton.
When you look at the draft, Jabari Parker; I had one GM tell me he is a high usage player. He needs to have the ball quite a bit to be effective. So, if you have him out there with [Kyrie and Dion] you could have a problem. Wiggins is not the case.”
The NBA Finals MVP had a 18.3 usage rate, while scoring 12.8 points per game. Russell Westbrook (33.5) had the highest usage rate in the NBA, while LeBron James was fifth (29.1). Irving was eighth (27.8) and Waiters was 23rd (25.7).
It’s also noteworthy to point out that Wiggins still averaged 17.1 points per game in his lone season with the Jayhawks, despite his average usage rate. This is a great example of Wiggins’ ability to play off the ball.
Jabari Parker might be the better offensive player right now–and that’s something unanimously agree on, but Wiggins’ potential is off the charts, and he should only continue to get better.
Combined with a ceiling that has no limit, along with the fact Wiggins can play NBA defense right now, it would be shocking to see the Cavs pull the trigger on anyone else come draft night.