LeBron James is pressuring Cleveland’s ownership to add another playmaker to the team’s roster.
Maybe someone like Andrew Wiggins?
The Cavaliers sent Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, to the Timberwolves as part of the trade for all-star Kevin Love. Cleveland won a NBA championship last season, but they might have given up something special to get there.
Jalen Rose, ESPN analyst and former player, alluded to the idea Wednesday that James and Wiggins could have been the next version of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
“If you have LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins, I’m not going to say that would look like a Mike and Scottie, but LeBron would be leading the league in minutes, Wiggins would be leading the team in dunks. And then LeBron could use [Wiggins] on the wing to guard the other team’s best perimeter player. I would like the combination.”
ESPN host Michelle Beadle responded to Rose’s round-about comparison saying, “Just by saying ‘I’m not saying they would have been Mike and Scottie,’ automatically puts the idea in everybody’s head like ‘Oh, Mike and Scottie. That’s kind of a big comparison.’ ”
Great point, Michelle.
James scored 27 points, had 12 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and one block in Wednesday night’s 125-97 blowout victory over the Timberwolves. Wiggins had 23 points and two rebounds.
Rose’s co-analyst Chauncey Billups, the former player and NBA champion, agreed the pair would have been great together.
“I would’ve loved it,” Billups said. “He’s the kind of guy they’re look for right now, which is ironic. They need a guy that can get on the perimeter and guard the other team’s best player. … Wiggins would have been able to do that and is averaging 20-some points per game. … Going forward, this team would have been set for years.”
Both analysts were convinced the Cavaliers would have won a NBA championship last year with Wiggins. They pointed to Love’s limited production and him being benched in the finals.
Rose defended his comparison to Jordan and Pippen, explaining Wiggins could have learned a lot from James.
“Wiggins is gifted athletically,” Rose said. “He would have gotten a chance to learn from LeBron James. LeBron James makes players around him better and now all the sudden [Wiggins] is averaging 20 points and would probably be a more complete product playing alongside LeBron in Cleveland.”
These comments are easy to make now that Wiggins is emerging as a young star in the league. However, James wanted to win a championship his first year back in Cleveland. It would be tough to argue that the Cavs would have made it to the Finals in Wiggins’ rookie season.