As we exit All-Star Weekend there has been one constant in the Timberwolves lineup this season, the future Rookie of the Year for the 2014/15 season, Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has played in and started every game thus far for the Wolves. Let’s dissect his game a bit and what our projections are for the Timberwolves’ star.
Question 1: What has impressed you the most with Andrew Wiggins’ game?
Every night he is guarding some of the best wing players in the NBA and he doesn’t seem to mind the task at all. This has to be exhausting on any NBA player, but is almost unthinkable to ask a 19 year old to go out there and do this night in and night out.
Secondary vote goes towards his all-around offensive game. I’m surprised it is as strong as it is already. Once he starts getting the benefit of the doubt from the referees, he is going to make a living at the free throw line.
His confidence in shooting the ball. I think in the first couple games you could see that he was getting used to that transition into the pros, but even then he didn’t hesitate to shoot. He knows what he can do, and he knows he’s capable of being a star in the NBA. It gives the Timberwolves an energy and spark on offense that I haven’t seen for awhile.
So far this season, I have been blown away by Wiggins’ maturity and even-keeled approach to the game. We can talk all day about his physical tools, but his mentality and attitude have demonstrated a particular leadership that was missing in the Timberwolves’ last star. Sitting at a youthful 19 years of age, Wiggins has a chance to one day be a very special player.
His consistency on offense. For a guy that was known to fade on offense at times at Kansas, Wiggins has found his spots offensively and been aggressive. His shooting form has also impressed. Even still, there’s plenty of room for more improvement to Wiggins game, and that has to have Wolves fans excited.
Question 2: Is Andrew Wiggins happy in Minnesota, and will he stay happy here?
The short answer is, Wiggins is currently happy in Minnesota. No one enjoys losing of course, so there is that element of frustration, but I don’t agree with people who say that Wiggins feels negatively about being traded from Cleveland. Sure, he could have played with LeBron James in Cleveland and would have won more games. But he would have been in the shadow of LeBron and Kyrie Irving, and I think the Timberwolves gave Wiggins the best chance to step up and stand out as a rookie. Long-term, it’s hard to say how content he’ll stay if we don’t see a major improvement on the team. I do think he’s happy with the fans, city and especially his teammates, and there is still a lot of upside with guys like Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine. Games have also been much more promising with Rubio and Pekovic back healthy–in my opinion, Wiggins is getting set up for a good situation here.
An underrated aspect of acquiring Wiggins was that not only were the Timberwolves getting arguably the best NBA prospect since LeBron James, but also that he happened to be from Toronto, Ontario. Andrew seems to be growing very comfortable in his settings and I truly hope that this working relationship can continue for many years to come. And it’s as simple as that.
Being traded to Minnesota was probably the best for Wiggins in terms of quick development. Is he happy? He sure seems happy when he is on the court. This is really on the front office to turn things around very quickly moving forward. The Wolves cannot afford to have two or three more losing seasons with Wiggins leading the charge (with Ricky Rubio). Winning cures all.
Question 3: Is Andrew Wiggins going to hit the rookie wall?
He may have already hit it. The last few weeks before the All-Star break Wiggins seemed to tire in the second half of games. He’s played the most minutes in the NBA since January 1st, and the week long break, should do him wonders as he works to get back in sync with Rubio.
In short, yes, in one way or another Wiggins will ultimately hit the “rookie wall”. However, I do not believe that we will suddenly begin to see noticeable flaws in his game, rather that physical exhaustion and lack of proper endurance will take a step or two away from him. The truth of the matter is that he is an extremely well-rounded player who can beat you in a myriad of ways, and I do not expect to see him go down without a fight.
I’m shocked that he hasn’t really fallen off too much. He did have a few off games before the break, but it wasn’t like he fell off a cliff like many rookies do at some point over the course of the season. With the rest, he will likely have recharged the battery for another few weeks; where maybe we start to see him tail off in late March or April. I’m impressed that he hasn’t really shown a great deal of decline, particularly since he is consistently asked to guard the best wing players in the league every night.
It’s hard to tell! He’s had a couple “off games” over the past couple weeks that Rubio has been back, but I don’t think he’s going to fully hit that wall that we see a lot of rookies up against. Wiggins has gotten progressively better and more confident throughout the season, and I have to imagine that finally having Rubio and Kevin Martin back will increase the morale and energy for everyone on the floor, but especially Wiggins.