How Will Blockbuster Trade Affect Andrew Wiggins
First overall picks in any drafts are always seen as assets. In any sport, they can range from untapped potential to ready to contribute talent. The NBA and its draft number one’s are no exception. In comes Andrew Wiggins, who has been pegged a future hall of famer since he was 16 years old. Wiggins has long wowed scouts with his out of this world athleticism and his great size and defense.
The guard/ forward undoubtedly disappointed in his lone season in college last year at Kansas, even though 17.1 PPG for a freshman is certainly no easy number to put up. However people have always simply thought Wiggins was far more special than just another player. That type of hype and promise almost surely helped catapult him to the top pick in this past year’s draft, with the Cavs passing on the presumed NBA ready Jabari Parker. However, with LeBron choosing Cleveland and Kevin Love hovering around hopelessly in Minnesota; the rest was history. Wiggins is now closing the first half of his rookie season and we see exactly what that fateful trade has and will do for his career.
1) Whether he can carry a heavy offensive burden
Since his days in high school, one of the biggest knocks on Wiggins has always been his consistency. With the Timberwolves in a rebuilding state, Wiggins has certainly had a lot of opportunities to score the ball. He has taken the most shots among all rookies (12.9FGA) and is second on his team (with injured guard Kevin Martin slightly edging him out). Those shots certainly would have been far more limited on a Cavaliers team that featured Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and now more recently JR Smith and Iman Shumpert. All of those players are not only wings, or guards, but they also need the ball in their hands a considerable amount of time. Can you imagine Wiggins on a team with that many shot takers, not only would his playing time surely be diminished but more than likely his shot per game wouldn’t be anywhere close to where they are either.
2) Whether he is worth the price
Although he is having a bit of a rough first half as a Cavalier, Kevin Love is still a really, really good power forward and still one of the best in the game. The Timberwolves have given up a lot for Love and in return they want to yield something that is either equal to or better than him in the long run. That can be seen as either a positive or a negative motive, right now it’s leaning towards the former. Wiggins certainly had his struggles coming out of the gate, scoring double figures in only a handful of games in his first few weeks of his rookie campaign. However, in the past month, Wiggins is actually averaging more than Love. Wiggins is currently averaging over 20 points in his last month while Love is hovering around 18 PPG. This may not seem like too big of deal but when you take it into perspective (Love is 26 and Wiggins is 19) you can see the importance. Although Wiggins is already outscoring Love recently, the Cavs forward still leads the rookie in nearly every other statistical category so it’s still anyone’s guess as to if the T Wolves returned proper assets.
3) Will he ever be as good as we think he is?
This is now probably the single most important aspect for Wiggins’ career. Of late, he has certainly shown flashes of being able to go down as one of the greats at his position from a scoring standpoint. Wiggins is actually a better shooter than the likes of LeBron, Kobe and Tracy McGrady when they were each his age so he clearly has an inside track from that perspective. However, his pedestrian averages of 1 assist per game and his low rebounding total as well simply don’t merit the comparisons to a young LeBron, not yet anyways. Another key to Wiggins’ development will be if he can be the best player on his team and if that team can be a legitimate threat year in and year out. Right now, one could argue he’s one of the better if not the best on the injury depleted Wolves. The only problem is they are last in the Western Conference so that really doesn’t mean anything.
As Wiggins continues to grow and mature it will be seen whether or not that blockbuster trade over the summer was truly worth it (for both sides) and whether Wiggins will ever live up to the hype that comes with the comparisons. For now, we have to sit back and wait for his turn in the NBA hierarchy.