NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Andrew Wiggins smiles during an interview after being drafted #1 overall in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2014 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 26, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
With Andrew Wiggins at No. 1, it was a big night for Canada and Kansas. And it better be the right one for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland went north of the border to open the NBA draft for the second straight year Thursday night, hoping Wiggins works out better than 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 to be a better player 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.
After making Canada the only country besides the U.S. to have consecutive No. 1 picks, Wiggins slipped on a maroon Cleveland hat, hugged his supporters and went on stage to shake hands with Commissioner Adam Silver.
Milwaukee followed with another freshman, Duke forward Jabari Parker, before 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.
The 76ers had two top-10 picks and could afford to take a chance on Embiid, the big man who may have ended up the top prize despite his lone season at Kansas ending early because of a bad back.