Is Andrew Wiggins Finally Realizing His Full Potential?
Andrew Wiggins’ Potential
When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for 6’8” SG/SF, Andrew Wiggins, they were banking on his superstar potential. At the time, Wiggins looked like as much of a sure thing as you’ll see in a draft. Wiggins averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks in his lone college season. The size, skill, and feel for the game were all there. Leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft, there was little debate as to who the Cleveland Cavaliers would choose first. Sure enough, commissioner Adam Silver called the name Andrew Wiggins first.
However, Minnesota acquired the young Canadian in a trade that included their best player at the time, Kevin Love. The season before he was traded, Love earned his third All-Star nod by putting up 26.1 points and 12.5 boards per game, knocking down nearly 38% of his triples along the way. By trading one of the league’s best young stars in a 25-year-old Love, Minnesota clearly had a lot of faith in Wiggins being the better player down the road.
His Career so far
Andrew Wiggins proceeded to string together an unspectacular first five seasons of his career. He averaged 19.4 points over those five seasons, yes, but did so inefficiently and without much to go with it. His rebounding, passing, and defence had all been subpar and his shooting percentages less than impressive (44% from the field).
Hot Start to the Season
In 11 games so far this season, Wiggins has been putting together his best campaign yet. He’s been torching defences to the tune of 25.9 points on career-best shooting (47.8% from the field, 36.1% from deep). What’s been more impressive is the sixth-year stud’s past five games, in which he’s averaged 31.6 points, 6.0 assists, and at least one block per game. The fact that he’s been doing all this on 52% shooting makes it all the more incredible.
There are many fans and journalists who believe that this stretch by Wiggins is unsustainable. With that, I can agree. He won’t be averaging 30+ points and 6+ assists all season. But, is it unreasonable to believe that Andrew Wiggins is finally realizing his potential?
With a sample size of only 11 games, it’s hard to make a decision on that just yet. However, Wiggins has looked great in all aspects of the game. Rebounding, passing, hustle, and defence are all much easier to do consistently than scoring. Shooting streaks will come and go — I don’t expect Andrew Wiggins to put up 30 points per game on 50% shooting all season. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if he continued to contribute to Timberwolves wins in other ways.
Expect Wiggins’ scoring to decline sometime soon — if not in volume, then at least in efficiency. At the same time, don’t expect him to be as bad as he has been in past years. He has a newfound confidence this season that comes with the sort of stretch that he’s had as of late. The Canadian guard will put together his best season yet in his sixth go-around. Regardless of a potential decline, Wiggins has shown us an efficiency and all-around game that we haven’t seen from him in his first five seasons.
I’m not saying he’ll be an All-Star. I’m not saying he’ll be a key contributor on a winning team (I don’t expect Minnesota to continue doing this well). However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Andrew Wiggins has the best season of his young career. The 2019-20 campaign will be the first step in Wiggins realizing the potential that the Timberwolves saw in him when they traded for him way back in 2014.