Hoops roundup: Wiggins’ emphatic response; Kabongo coming back; LeBron in a crazy zone

- February 11th, 2013

I tweeted a lot about Andrew Wiggins last week, but didn’t really write any extended thoughts anywhere, so here they are:

Pete Thamel is a fantastic writer and it was good to see SI doing a feature article on Andrew Wiggins, but the final result left a lot to be desired. While some of it was valid, I found the tone was off and things were perhaps stretched to make a point that maybe wasn’t too valid to begin with. While it’s fine to point out some of the problems with our culture such as deifying athletes, ignoring any faults and fawning over stars as well as looking past many of the shady things that often go on before star athletes make the big-time (or don’t make it for that matter) the piece didn’t focus on that. It took digs at Wiggins, his family and Canadian basketball players in general that weren’t necessary and were rather exaggerated.

Interestingly, the headline of the article changed from positing Wiggins as the Canadian can’t miss prospect who might finally make it unlike everybody else (ignoring guys like Tristan Thompson, who was once, like Wiggins, ranked No. 1 in North America by scouting sites and became a No. 4 overall NBA selection and, in Year 2 of his NBA career, an impact player, while also ignoring Andrew Nicholson entirely) to one that described Wiggins as “The great hope north of the border.” The change was made after considerable backlash, particularly from Canadians.

Wiggins’ friends, family and coaches were particularly peeved by the article. It appears they got Wiggins extra riled up because he responded by scoring 57 points (missing only four shots) in his next game. That’s quite a statement and shows what he can do when trying to prove a point. Wiggins is going to have to get used to being criticized. It goes with the territory. Some of it will be constructive, some of it will be a stretch, some of it will be utter nonsense. The constructive stuff is good and it is what should be responded to.

- Speaking of Canadians, Myck Kabongo’s finally coming back. It’s about time. Kabongo who grew up in Toronto, has served a ridiculous 23-game NCAA suspension and will start for the Texas Longhorns (stumbling along at 10-13) on Wednesday night. They’ll need him to try to salvage what has been a lost season. Kabongo has a lot to prove. It’s hard to see him returning to Texas for a third year next season because he and his people are furious at the way his suspension was dealt with and handed out compared to how others, who committed far more egregious infractions, were treated. That means Kabongo will have to show that his long hours in the gym have made him a better shooter. If he can become a reliable shooter and improve his decision-maker, there is no question he can still crack the first round of the NBA draft this summer. This is a weak draft without a lot of pure point guards. Here’s what Kabongo had to say in a statement about his return:

“I am ready to start playing with my team again and putting behind me the last several months.  When I went to Cleveland last summer, I did not intend to break any rules and did not believe I had broken any.  I should have been upfront with UT about everything the first time I had a chance, but I’m glad that I corrected my mistake and I’m glad that I was truthful with the NCAA.

I have learned a lot about myself and what is important to me through this process.  I have a great team, and they have supported me all year.  I believe I am a better teammate and am looking forward to finishing the season with my team.  I want to thank my teammates and my coaches for sticking by and supporting me all year.”

- Rudy Gay was an honourable mention for East player of the week. He didn’t have a chance. Not with that LeBron James guy doing ridiculous things. James was player of the week because Miami went 4-0 and he shot an absurd .738 from the field. Sure, we all know James has some help, but nobody should have shooting numbers like that. Russell Westbrook won for the West.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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