Miami 96, Minnesota 84
The reigning Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, is struggling, it’s that simple. His field goal percentage is a very depressed 29%. He has made one three point shot all year. His assists are down from last year and so are his rebounds.
In the first game of the year, against the Lakers, Wiggins missed 8 out of the 10 shots he launched. He had one rebound and one assist. The argument can be made that his defensive assignment was Kobe Bryant who took 24 shots in that game which tired Wiggins. Except Wiggins is 20 years old. Bryant wasn’t exactly running all over the court forcing Wiggins to fight through screens. Bryant was camped out at the three-point line. On more than one instance, Bryant defended Wiggins on the wing only because Wiggins didn’t put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim. He settled for a jumpshot.
Against the Nuggets, Wiggins shot was a little better but 38% shooting is far beneath the standards of a Rookie of the Year. He missed the only three point shot he attempted but he was more than engaged in other parts of the game. He had 4 rebounds and 1 assist and 1 block, despite his 4 turnovers.
His third game, against the Blazers was probably Wiggins worst so far this season. He couldn’t do anything on offense, missing 12 out of 17 shots. He missed all his threes. He had 6 rebounds and three assists, a steal and three turnovers.
Tonight against the Miami Heat it was the familiar story, 18 shots, 13 misses. Wiggins did make his first three point shot of the year. He had 4 rebounds, no assists, no blocks but 1 steal.
So is this just an early season slump or is there something for the Timberwolves to worry about? One thing that is different this year is that Wiggins is no longer playing his familiar position of small forward as he has been moved to the shooting guard position while Tayshaun Prince is the small forward. The early sample size is that Wiggins is struggling as a guard, passive when he should be aggressive, settling for shots instead of reacting and driving.
Wiggins has been average on the defensive end too. He faced Wade tonight; Wade scored 25.
The Timberwolves had a very basic offense last year. It was let Wiggins get whatever he wants. But this year, there are nuances to their offensive sets with Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins is no longer the centerpiece and his game looks out of sync. It is early, it is.
Because this is a Timberwolves team seemingly no longer at the kids table, Wiggins teammates are voicing their frustration. Rubio called Wiggins lazy on the court, that he is not being aggressive about getting open. Wiggins for his part, is still flying through the air for fantastic dunks, but that doesn’t mean his game, the bread and butter that won him Rookie of the Year, isn’t on life support.
The hope for Wiggins this year was to improve his three point shooting, up his rebounding, and be more of a facilitator. He has regressed. He has conveniently adopted a familiar habit of young players who believe their press. Worse than that bit of self aggrandizement is thinking that last year builds upon this year. No. Last year is over. This year is now. Who is Andrew Wiggins going to be?
|Andrew Wiggins||Points||Field Goal Percentage||3-Point Percentage||Assists||Rebounds|
photo via llananba