The Sixers are going to struggle this season. Many of the Sixers’ struggles will be self-imposed as they look towards the 2014 lottery and the potential of adding a franchise-caliber player, or two.
Among the most appealing players that will be making the leap to the league next summer is Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is portrayed in media reports as the next LeBron, or Jordan, or Scottie Pippen, or someone else depending on who you talk to, but definitely the next somebody.
The narrative on Wiggins is that he is a franchise-changer, and several teams, including the Sixers, have put themselves in position to compete for his services next summer. Tales of his talent and pro potential have been told and re-told to such an extent that some may forget that he is still a teenager that has yet to play the game past the high school level, and not a pre-packaged superstar.
Luckily, Bill Self is here to bring us all back to earth.
Self is Wiggins’ coach for his sure-to-be single season at Kansas, and while Self sees a lot of promise in Wiggins, he also acknowledges that the kid has a lot of work to do before he can serve as savior to a team like the Sixers.
"He’s been marginal," Self said, addressing Wiggins’ time with the Jayhawks up to this point.
"Compared to what people are saying, I think he’ll have some ups and downs."
Ups-and-downs are expected, but marginal isn’t usually a work you hear associated with what is supposed to be a surefire superstar,
Self certainly didn’t mean this as a jab at his prized prospect, and was likely trying to drum down some of the hype that has built around the kid. Still, such a comment could be construed as slightly concerning for those hoping Wiggins would serve as a figurative light at the end of the Sixers’ tunnel.
"We’ve never had anybody who can do what he can do," Self added, making sure to touch on the ability that everyone is enamored with.
"He makes plays that truly leave you in awe. But he doesn’t know yet how to play hard consistently. He can definitely do that. He just has to learn how."
It will be largely up to Self to install this consistency aspect in Wiggins before he is expected to become the face of an NBA franchise next summer.
Players can grow a whole lot over the course of a season, and Wiggins will have every opportunity to develop and prepare his game for the next level. But, the quotes from Self illustrate that Wiggins is far from a perfect player despite the desired narrative told by fans of teams lumbering toward the lottery.
Wiggins has to continue to work to become the pro he is projected to be, and the Sixers have some work of their own, albeit a different kind of work, to do to put themselves in position to compete for his services next summer. Hopefully by then they will both be a little better.