Thirty-six games into his professional basketball career and it’s already becoming clear about why so many NBA scouts thought highly of Andrew Wiggins. To me, it’s clear he is walking on his own on the path towards stardom.One thing that still bugs me about Wiggins is it seems like he is a “quiet” box score guy. What I mean by that is this: when I watch games, I don’t see him making a “loud” impact. This is a stupid analogy, but he is kind of like a mouse. Not as silent, but he still eats the food out of your pantry. Sometimes you don’t notice him on the floor.
After a shaky beginning to his career, Wiggins has picked up the production over the last three weeks. Despite playing on a horrendous team, at the moment, Wiggins’ number have been superb the last 10 games. He has averaged 21 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 49.4 percent from the floor, 41.4 percent from three, and 75 percent from the line.
He doesn’t take a lot of bad shots and the ones that are bad aren’t really that bad due to his ability to shoot over opposing players. In the beginning of the season, Flip Saunders didn’t involve Wiggins in the offense as much as he is involved now. Wiggins has seen more touches due to a significant amount of injuries to several key players. But in Wiggins’ defense: he has stepped-up his play. He already has 12 games of 20 points or more, putting him on pace for about 27-29 for the season.
While all the advanced statistics say that he hasn’t been very productive and his “real” plus/minus is average, it’s all a bunch of crap. If you look at the games in which he has played at least 30 minutes, he is averaging 17.2 ppg on 44 percent shooting. He is figuring out what spots on the floor he is most comfortable receiving the ball and is getting to the line a lot more.
It also seems like he doesn’t shy away from the best competition. He scored 21 against Golden State, 23 against Portland, 27 against Cleveland, and 25 against Phoenix. He shot at least 56 percent in three of those games.
You can tell a lot about a guy by the way he shoots the ball. Wiggins has a very smooth shot and his form is nearly perfect. To become a very good or even great shooter, he will need to spend hundreds of hours shooting tens of thousands of jump shots.
Even once Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin are back in the fold on offense, there should be no reason for Wiggins to defer to either of them. While both are good players, this is going to be Wiggins’ team starting next season, if it hasn’t already started this season.
I think the team will be more offensively efficient once Ricky Rubio comes back. I think his return will make Wiggins even more effective and efficient. I like what Shabazz Muhammad has done since he took over after Corey Brewer was traded. Muhammad is always in “attack” mode and every team; especially Minnesota, needs a player like that. Plus, he is playing some pretty good basketball. It’ll be interesting to see how the offense goes with him being out for at least two weeks with an abdominal strain.
One thing that might stop Wiggins’ progress is the proverbial “rookie wall”. It normally happens around this time of year. First-year pros aren’t used to playing more than 30-35 games in a season. While a college season is stretched out over four and an average of 30 games played per season, a NBA season is stretched out over five and a half months with 82 regular season games. That averages out to nearly 3.5 games per week. In college, it’s only about 1.8 per week. NBA games are longer, too, and with a lot more travel. I can see why rookies, and even some veterans, wear-down later in the season.
I hope it doesn’t happen to Wiggins.
One thing is for sure, though. Wiggins is the ‘Real Deal’.