Long ago projected for this — and, given his bloodlines, maybe made for this — Andrew Wiggins showed up to the NBA Draft wearing a black suit jacket with flowered designs. He wore a black bow tie and a white shirt, too, not that anyone noticed. It was hard to get past those flowers.
A quiet guy by nature, Wiggins went loud on his draft night.
Like he knew. Like he knows.
The Cleveland Cavaliers took Wiggins at No. 1 overall and think they’ve got one really right. Considering the organization is starting anew, again, the timing could be right, too.
Wiggins is just 19 and has a long way to go, but he has rare athletic gifts and nearly limitless potential. He can jump out of the gym now and jumps into a prominent role for a team that has a new coach, new general manager and big decisions looming. As for the first of this crucial offseason, it had to be Wiggins.
"We knew for quite some time that if we kept the pick, it would be (Wiggins)," Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said.
There were other choices, and Griffin admitted his team engaged in "spirited debate about trade options." But the Cavaliers knew they were lucky to end up with this No. 1 pick after another disappointing season and know nothing is given with new free agent LeBron James or any other options involving their current roster or other potential veteran possibles, so they went with Wiggins.
Wiggins is an unfinished product, but he’s a 6’8 wing who in his one college season averaged 17 points per game on a Kansas team that was arguably the favorite to win the national championship before Joel Embiid got hurt.
That’s pretty good. Wiggins is already pretty good, and the thought that he can eventually be really good made the Cavaliers’ decision an easy one once all options were weighed. Whether these Cavs are two moves and two years away from contending in a wide-open Eastern Conference or much further than that, the first real domino had to be Wiggins, who can eventually be really dominant.
His 7-foot wingspan, 40-plus inch vertical jump and elite athleticism make for a package so attractive he certainly would have been the No. 1 pick a year ago and might have been a top-three pick two years ago.
"Fast-twitch muscle fiber," is how Griffin described Wiggins — that might be an understatement — and he added that "we really believe his defense is a skill set."
A native of the Toronto area, Wiggins is the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former Canadian Olympic sprinter Marita Payne-Wiggins. He came to the United States for high school and immediately was pegged as the next big thing.
Now, he’s arrived on the biggest stage.
"I want to create an impact right off the bat," Wiggins said.
Time will tell on this pick and this player like it does for all of them, but the Cavaliers looked at Jabari Parker, and at Embiid, and at trade options in trying to straighten out a roster that has four top-four picks from the last three drafts and needs to see results from those picks. Besides Kyrie Irving, none of those picks were as easy as Wiggins.
"All of our scouts felt like he had the most upside," Griffin said.
Thursday night, Wiggins felt comfortable enough to wear that flowered jacket. He probably knew the Cavaliers would call his name. Even if he’s just now getting comfortable with it, he knew the world would be watching.
The Cavaliers, remade again, knew they had to call his name.