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MailTribune.com
  • Cavs take Wiggins with top pick in NBA draft

    Miami lands Napier in trade in attempt to keep LeBron with team
  • NEW YORK — Andrew Wiggins went No. 1, so he got to make the first pitch.
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  • NEW YORK — Andrew Wiggins went No. 1, so he got to make the first pitch.
    What would he say to LeBron James about joining him in Cleveland?
    "I want to win," Wiggins said. "If he wants to win, we'd be good together."
    Shabazz Napier is on his way to Miami, complete with James' endorsement, so maybe he's the key to keeping James right where he is.
    "I would hope so," Napier said. "He's one of the best players in the world. So if me going there helps him come back, it just betters our chances of being a complete team."
    Welcome to today's NBA, where even rookies are recruiters.
    Long before the draft was over, the focus was already turning toward free agency, which kicks off July 1 with James and Carmelo Anthony as the top prizes.
    So when the so-called experts make their draft grades, the one that matters most might have come from James himself on Twitter, shortly after Napier was selected by the Charlotte Hornets and dealt to the Heat in a trade that won't become official until later Thursday.
    "My favorite player in the draft! (hashtag) Napier," James wrote.
    Others may be better in a deep draft that was loaded with young talent.
    That starts with Wiggins, whom the Cavaliers took with their second straight No. 1 overall pick. They're hoping the Kansas freshman turns out better than fellow Canadian Anthony Bennett.
    Thrilled to go first and even happier when Jayhawks teammate Joel Embiid went two picks later, Wiggins beamed in his black tuxedo jacket with a white floral pattern.
    "A thousand thoughts are going through my head right now," Wiggins said. "It's a dream come true."
    Bennett was injured last summer, came into the season out of shape and made no impact, one of the reasons the Cavs were back in this spot again.
    But Wiggins seems a much more ready product after averaging a Kansas freshman-record 17.1 points. He might have ended up as the top pick anyway, but became the best option for the Cavs when Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his right foot shortly before the draft.
    Milwaukee followed with another freshman, Duke forward Jabari Parker, who some consider the more NBA-ready player after an All-American season for the Blue Devils. Playing in Milwaukee puts him near his family in Chicago.
    Embiid went third to Philadelphia, drawing loud cheers from the many red-and-blue dressed 76ers fans who made the trip to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as well as from Philadelphia guard Michael Carter-Williams, last season's Rookie of the Year who was sitting on the arena floor level.
    The highlight of the night came just after the lottery, when Silver welcomed Baylor's Isaiah Austin to the stage for an emotional tribute. Austin had to end his playing career after being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart.
    Wearing a blue hat with the NBA logo, Austin rose for a standing ovation after Silver announced that: "The NBA selects Isaiah Austin."
    There were 10 international players in the first round, tied for the second-most in draft history. It ended with NBA champion San Antonio taking UCLA's Kyle Anderson.
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