Whenever a sidekick in the NBA is brought up in the NBA, they are immediately compared to Scottie Pippen, who, of course, helped the NBA’s best all-time player, Michael Jordan, lead the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Titles (well besides Batman and Robin). When the game’s best current player, LeBron James, left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat back in 2010, he wanted a teammate like that and may have found two in guard Dwyane Wade and big man Chris Bosh.
Now that he has returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, James is again looking for that sidekick. Many believe that player is Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love, but the Cavaliers will have to trade the last two number one overall picks, forward Anthony Bennett (2013) and swingman Andrew Wiggins (2014), among other assets, to acquire him.
There are a few, including Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, who wonder if Wiggins could be that type of player.
I think they should hold off on a trade and see how LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins play together early in the season before pulling the trigger on a deal. Start the season, see how things go and then reassess. The big question is how soon can Wiggins be that Pippen-like player? Is he ready to contribute right away or will he need three years to get to that point? That’s what Cleveland needs to find out, because they’re clearly in win-now mode. If Wiggins is going to be a long-term project who needs several years of development before he can contribute at that high level, it may make more sense to deal him for Love or a star who is ready to produce alongside James and Kyrie Irving right now.
Obviously, even if Wiggins can become a player like that, it is going to take some time, meaning dealing for Love still may be the best player.
James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 56.7% from the field, 37.9% from three and 75.0% from the charity stripe last season. Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per game for the Jayhawks last season while shooting 44.8% from the field, 34.1% from beyond the arc and 77.5% from the free throw line.