Andrew Wiggins couldn't miss. Such was the consensus of NBA executives this time a year ago, before Wiggins had matriculated at the University of Kansas. One NBA general manager told Chad Ford last June that Wiggins would have gone No. 1 in every draft since 2007. Without naming Wiggins, another admitted to Jeff Goodman that his team was tanking the season to be in the best position to draft Wiggins No. 1.
So it's easy to understand the surprise when my WARP projections came out last week and Wiggins wasn't atop the board. In fact, he wasn't even in the top 10, unlike fellow freshmen Joel Embiid (No. 6) and Jabari Parker (No. 7). Wiggins is 21st.
In the NBA, the discrepancy between performance analysis and scouting has rarely been as divisive as in baseball after the publication of "Moneyball" put the rift into the spotlight. The best general managers incorporate both approaches, respecting their values and their limitations. But there are real disagreements between the two methods of evaluating prospects, and Wiggins is a source of conflict this year. There are several reasons.
What went wrong at Kansas
To be clear, Wiggins didn't struggle in his lone NCAA season. He was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a consensus second-team All-America pick. Given the level of hype, however, his performance was somewhat disappointing.