Andrew Wiggins: Convince Me

Wolves owner Glen Taylor wants to give Andrew Wiggins $150 million. He really, really does. But he wants Andrew Wiggins to convince him that he is worth it. He wants Wiggins to admit that what Wiggins is giving now is way below 100%. He wants to know Wiggins has heart and that he is ready to sell out for the Wolves and do everything it takes to become a top-5 player. Because $150 million is a lot of cash.

Glen Taylor needs to look Wiggins in the eye, man to man, and hear Wiggins tell him he has a plan and that Glen Taylor will never be sorry.

Forget basketball for a moment. Glen Taylor is a business man. All businessmen began with a plan. It starts with a mission statement. Then the keys to success. Followed by objectives. Within the text is how you intend to get from A to B. How you plan to sacrifice. What you are willing to take on and what you are willing to leave behind. Extract the fat from the bone and Taylor is asking Wiggins does he have heart? We’ve asked that question too.

Once Wiggins says his plan out loud, it is etched in stone, written in ink. It is ride or die.

“To me, by making this offer, I’m speculating that his contribution to the team will be more in the future. We’ve got to get better. He can’t be paid just for what he’s doing today. He’s got to be better.” Glen Taylor, Associated Press

What Taylor is asking from Wiggins is to have a little self-awareness. To admit Wiggins has never posted a defensive rating lower than 113 and never had an offensive rating higher than 107. That he averages two assists a game; he racks up an assist every 18 minutes. As athletic as he is, Wiggins doesn’t block shots nor does he grab teammates misses. The last two years, he has been a 20-point scorer but his PER reflects his one dimension and treads into average role player lane. Jeremy Lamb of the Hornets had a higher PER (17.05) in 2016-17 than Wiggins and you better believe no one is throwing $147 mil at Lamb. Rating shooting guards by impact, Wiggins ranked 52nd in 2016-17. He is a terrific athlete and a finisher but he doesn’t play the team game. It’s all about Andrew Wiggins making Andrew Wiggins better.

The way Taylor sees it, that is not good enough. Not by a long shot.

“I’m willing to meet the max. But there are some things that I need out of him and that is the commitment to be a better player than you are today.”

Glen Taylor is preaching to the choir. We’ve been waiting for Andrew Wiggins to become a better player too. We have been patient but pretty soon the rubber will meet the road. He needs improvement on distance shooting and being a floor spacer compliment to Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins is a miserable mid range shooter, doesn’t make long two’s, and only recently had efficiency behind the arc. He finishes at the rim like he is supposed to given his athleticism but the rest has been a work in progress for three years.

It’s the truly great players that make their teammates better, that use their talent to elevate the group as a whole.

These were the 2016-17 facts. Andrew Wiggins took more shots than the previous year but his shooting percentage was worse.  He went to the line less. He rebounded more, passed the ball more and turned the ball over more.

Andrew Wiggins Is Not a Rookie Anymore Points Field Goal% 3-Point Percentage Offensive Rating
2015-16 20.7 45.9% 30.0% 106
2016-17 23.6 45.2% 35.6% 107

 

Pass First or Pass Last Andrew Wiggins Assists Assist Percentage
2015-16 2.0 10.1%
2016-17 2.3 10.6%

The game has changed, has gotten faster, more dependent on ball movement and pick and roll and transition points than ever before. Throwing the ball into the star player and watching him work (as everyone stands around gaping) is a dying strategy.

The breakout year everyone expected of Andrew Wiggins didn’t happen. As a rookie, his iso game reminded everyone of a young Kobe Bryant. But Bryant had versatility that Wiggins hasn’t exhibited.

3rd Year Minutes Points Field Goal Percentage Assists Defensive Rating
Andrew Wiggins 37.2 23.6 45.2% 2.3 115 (career worst)
Kobe Bryant 37.9 19.9 46.5% 3.8 104

The only shooting guards worse on defense than Wiggins in 2016-17 were old Jamal Crawford and average Bojan Bogdanovic. All improvements for Wiggins begins on the defensive end. It starts and ends with effort, with want to. His motor is low for someone of his skill set.

“I don’t know what else you can do but look at the person face-to-face and trust that he will follow through. He seems like a very good person. He seems to have the ability and so the only thing it would be is for some reason he didn’t work hard enough to obtain the skill sets. That’s what you are asking him to commit to.” (Glen Taylor)

This is the NBA reality. After awhile, athletes that never become anything more than finishers (a third of Wiggins shot attempts are at the rim) or dunkers, are memes. They don’t really matter. It is boring to talk about Andrew Wiggins potential and even his money. We want to debate Andrew Wiggins All-Star.

Andrew Wiggins has to convince Glen Taylor he is who we think he is.

 

 

photo via llananba

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