“Air Canada: The Next Generation”
Andrew Wiggins who is a former number one pick has had a quiet first two years. The 21 year old from Canada was regarded as one of basketball’s most prized young talents and a franchise changing type player. On court, his skill set was noticeable as was his raw talent. Wiggins brought those skills and crafty athleticism to the University of Kansas and carried it over into the NBA. Being drafted to a young Timberwolves team with little expectations Wiggins was not called upon to be the guy right away. The natural talent and skills were there, it was obvious he could hang with the big kids. The one question that remained – can Andrew Wiggins make the leap to superstardom? Yes, he can.
After the 2014-2015 NBA season, Andrew Wiggins was dubbed the league’s Rookie of the Year. While starting all 82 games his rookie season, he composed a stat line of 17 points per game, one steal a game, shooting 43 % from the field, and 31% from three. Fun fact: Andrew Wiggins has only missed one game thus far in his career, hopefully a statistic that will carry on throughout. His second season, was a slight improvement – averaging 20 per game and shooting 45% from the field. You could argue that the statistical improvement came from the addition of a rookie juggernaut known as Karl Anthony-Towns, who received the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year. With the addition of KAT, comes the all-around basketball improvements form Zach Levine and draftee Kris Dunn. Wiggins along with all of these draft picks forms scary potential for a Minnesota franchise that has been longing for success since the departure of Kevin Garnett. It’s clear that KAT, who was extremely dominant in his rookie campaign, is bound for super stardom. Levine is a great complimentary player and we are still unsure of what Dunn truly is. In a league where it is necessary to have two superstars on your team, maybe even three, can Andrew Wiggins make that leap this season? For the Minnesota Timberwolves, it is a must that he does.
Andrew Wiggins could be pretty close to being one of the best isolation players in the league. His numbers will go up this year due to more efficient looks and more iso’s. With all the attention KAT will be drawing, expect more one-on-one battles for Wiggins. As for his opponents, their slides and doubles will be more focused on KAT. Having Zach Levine improve on his shooting sure does help as well. Wiggins will have no problem getting the ball in a one-on-one situation, he just needs to demand the ball more. He can get to his spots with ease. The elbow, the base line jumper. All Wiggins needs to do is be more aggressive and more demanding of the ball. We want to see you posterize someone Andrew. Use that 44-inch vertical we all know and love! New head coach Tom Thibodeau will have no problem telling the young scorer to demand the ball when he is at his spots. We already know Thibodeau is going to instill some new defensive schemes that will enhance the lengthy small forward into a more defensive threat. Thibs and the rest of the T’Wolves will need Wiggins to do this if they want to make the 7 or 8 seed that they are hoping for this season. I believe that they will, but it is pivotal that they do so moving forward with this young squad. This Timberwolves squad will need Wiggins to be a 25-point scorer nightly (along with KAT & some others) if they want to compete in the Western Conference that is filled with some young talented teams (Lakers, Portland, Utah).
For Andrew Wiggins, it’s not a matter of expanding his game or developing more skills because that is already there. Andrew Wiggins needs to be (and will be) more aggressive this season. He has been argued to be too casual on the court, which is fair, but that comes with the young star. Who knows – maybe his casualness could throw off defenders and allow Wiggins to drop the tomahawk on them. It’s his time and he will take that next step in becoming the Andrew Wiggins we have all hoped for. This upcoming season, watch Andrew Wiggins take that leap and become third team All NBA, make his first All Star Game appearance, and help his team to a seventh seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Watch a future star turn the corner.