Leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft, many of the arguments for why the Cleveland Cavaliers should choose Andrew Wiggins over Jabari Parker with the first pick had to do with how each player would fit with the team's current roster. Wiggins can theoretically slide nicely into the small forward role, while Parker would have been more of a hybrid small/power forward whose skillset would have overlapped a bit with Anthony Bennett.
However, it's one thing to look at how a player will fit on a given team in theory, and quite another to see it actually come to fruition. David Blatt -- who is widely considered to be an offense genius, but has never coached an NBA game -- will now be tasked with incorporating Wiggins into a lineup that already has two established wing players in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Interestingly, immediately after the Cavs made their pick last night, GM David Griffin made it clear that he doesn't see Wiggins as a small forward. He said, "If Andrew finds greatness in this league, it's going to be as a very big two-guard."
This likely means one of three possible things: 1) Waiters will be traded; 2) Wiggins will start at the two and Waiters will adopt a sixth man role; or, most likely 3) Wiggins will start at the three for the time being out of necessity, and Waiters will start at the two. There's also a chance that Wiggins will come off the bench to start the season, but that seems unlikely, unless the Cavs upgrade the wing players on their roster significantly between now and then.
How does Wiggins fit on offense?
If Wiggins does start alongside Irving and Waiters, the biggest issue will be floor spacing. At his introductory press conference back in May, Griffin said, "You know we've got ball-dominant drive and kick creators, we need to be able to open the floor for them." Driving to the basket proved to be difficult for Irving and Waiters at times last season because defenses were always clogging the lane. The Cavs need shooters who will draw those defenders away from the basket. For all of the talent Wiggins has, there is universal agreement that he is not yet a good shooter.
One way to address this issue would be for the Cavs to re-sign Spencer Hawes, and add a starting power forward who can shoot from the outside. Having two stretch bigs whould help alleviate the spacing problems. But if the team is planning to start Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao in the frontcourt, having Irving/Waiters/Wiggins on the wings won't make as much sense.
The good news is that Blatt's system involves much more than just guard penetration. There's also a lot of cutting, in the style of the Princeton offense under which Blatt played in college. (To learn more about Blatt's system, watch this incredibly helpful video by SB Nation's Coach Nick.)
This is where Wiggins could be able to thrive from day one. At Kansas, he was often criticized for standing still too often on offense. That won't be an option in Blatt's system, and his athleticism should allow him to be very good at cutting and moving without the ball.
It should also be noted that Blatt seems like the kind of coach who will adapt his system to his players, rather than one who will expect the players to adapt to him. "I won't come in and run the Princeton offense just because I played for the great Pete Carril at Princeton," he said at his press conference on Wednesday. "I'm going to see what I have. I'm going to decide together with the coaching staff what the best way for us to play is, and most importantly, figure out how we're going to win the most games." If Blatt truly is the genius he's been heralded as, he will find a way to get Irving, Waiters, and Wiggins to play together.
What about on defense?
Defensively, there are not nearly as many questions about how Wiggins will fit. Whether he plays the two or the three on offense, his size and athleticism should allow him to guard the opposing team's best wing player. It may take him some time to learn how to play defense in the NBA, but once he does, he's going to make a huge difference on that end. Wing defense was one of the team's biggest needs, and Wiggins fills it.
There are obviously still changes to the roster on the horizon. Free agency hasn't even started yet, and it seems likely that Griffin will pull off a trade or two. Once it gets closer to October, it will be easier to get a sense of how exactly Wiggins will fit during his rookie season.
Once thing is for sure, though: Wiggins will provide size and elite athleticism on the wing right away. That can only stand to help the Cavs, who started guards who were 6'4" or shorter for most of last season.