When it comes to the Philadelphia 76ers and their infatuation with Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins, there has been very little subtlety from the organization’s standpoint. For months now, the franchise’s love-affair with the Canadian-born, uber-athletic wing has been anything but secretive. Even after the disappointment of falling to the 3rd overall pick in the upcoming draft, very few have counted out the 76ers in their relentless approach of Wiggins. Given their staggering number of draft picks (7) and the sort of flexibility to engineer trades, it is hard to count out Sam Hinkie and company if they want Andrew Wiggins as much as it appears they do.
In addition to hosting SportsRadio WIP’s afternooon show alongside Rob Ellis, Anthony Gargano is a well-established sports journalist with connections in multiple leagues dating back to his years on the beat. Much like the majority of 76ers fans, Gargano has been vocal in his preference for Wiggins when it comes to which direction the team will go in when draft night rolls around. Wednesday afternoon, Gargano took a multi-platform approach to reveal what a source close to the organization revealed to him as far as what the team’s gameplan is to land the player they so covet.
First, via Twitter:
Sixers nugget coming in 3,2,1….they will do whatever it takes to get Wiggins and are looking to move up from 10 in addition
— Anthony Gargano (@AnthonyLGargano) June 4, 2014
“The Sixers are in love with [Andrew] Wiggins and they will do whatever they need to do to land Andrew Wiggins…From what I hear, it’s 90-percent they get Wiggins. They’ll do whatever it takes.”
It is far from breaking news that the organization has Wiggins at the top of their board and probably went about their 2013-2014 season the way they did to best position themselves to acquire the high-flying freshman. Even when the lottery shook out the way it did, one still had to think the organization had contingency plans in place if they preferred Wiggins that much more over the other prospects. As the draft continues to draw nearer and analysts constantly alter their projections for how the top of the class will shake out, Gargano’s source indicates the mindset of the 76ers pretty clearly. They put themselves in a position to take as much chance out of the equation as possible and are 100% ready to allocate whatever resources it takes to select the player they have ranked the highest.
Even with the 76ers selecting third in the draft, it is quite possible that they won’t have to make any sort of move to land Wiggins. Eased concerns over Joel Embiid’s back appear to make him a more definitive option for the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick. Though some may argue against me, Milwaukee seems to be in need of an established, NBA-ready scoring option like Jabari Parker than another raw, albeit athletic player like Wiggins. There are some who feel that Wiggins might not even be in the top three of Milwaukee’s draft board, as they apparently rank point guard Dante Exum ahead of him. Obviously, when the chips are on the table, a team can go back on their board and select the player that no one expected them to. However, with the Cavaliers and Bucks both in need of a strong selection just as much as the 76ers, it is hard to say one would be shocked if Wiggins was available at 3rd overall.
Personally, I do not think it would require much for the 76ers to move up to the first or second pick to attain Wiggins. In fact, if the Bucks and Cavaliers are hesitant to take a player with as much uncertainty as the Kansas product, the 76ers could do them a huge favor by swapping spots with either team and sweetening the deal with one of their five second round picks. The mutually beneficial situation would provide Philadelphia with the player they desire and the Bucks and Cavaliers would avoid being criticized for passing on Wiggins. As long as it did not include the 10th overall pick, Michael Carter-Williams, or Nerlens Noel, I would be fine with just about any package the 76ers could throw at either team if it meant securing Wiggins.
Speaking of the 10th overall pick, Gargano had another draft-related tidbit that could see another top-rated player coming to Philadelphia as a result of the front office’s aggressive pursuit.
“I hear that they want to move up from [number] 10 as well…So, they want to assure themselves of Wiggins and also, move up from 10.”
Even though they are slated to be the third team to select, it would astonish me if the 76ers are not the most active and aggressive team at the draft. Everything Sam Hinkie has laid down to this point has been about dictating the action for the 2014 event and the organization is Hell-bent on bringing in the players they feel will best compliment their young core moving forward. Only time will tell if Hinkie can pull the right strings to bring in his guy and starting shifting the focus towards competing in a few years.
In the meantime, here’s that awesome picture of Wiggins talking with Dr. J at the lottery. (H/T @FisolaNYDN)