Judge Judy used to say don’t pee on my leg and say it’s raining. In other words, don’t try to confuse me with fake news. A lot of NBA folks hate the Wiggins to the Dubs for D’Angelo Russell trade for obvious reasons. Wiggins is an iso player who is now forced to abandon everything he has done the past six years. He is a perennial underachiever playing for an organization that expects overachievement. He is under contract longer than Steph Curry.
Andrew Wiggins signed a max deal he couldn’t earn. That doesn’t make him unique. Check out Mike Conley’s stats this season. But Wiggins contract and his inability to justify it with consistent performances is only a small fraction of the Wiggins paradox.
Frustrated by his apathy, moodiness and mediocrity, the Wolves found a partner who was more desperate than they were. Thursday was their lucky day. Wiggins only cost the Wolves draft picks. They had wanted Russell since last summer.
Trying to create calm out of hysteria, the Warriors are framing their decision by trashing D’Angelo Russell as he is out the door which, for Russell, is familiar. Magic Johnson did the same thing and then Russell became an All-Star. It’s a bad look for an organization who claims they uphold values like class and humanity.
When the Warriors said D’Angelo Russell wasn’t a fit like he was a bad pair of shoes, I say, duh. Of course, he wasn’t a fit. D’Angelo Russell is what happens when you make decisions after a sucker punch. Months later there are regrets.
Russell is an All-Star and does certain things well but doesn’t compliment the Warriors system. Frankly most players can’t.
The Warriors run a specific scheme based on structure and instinct that involves screening, ball movement, off ball activity, unselfishness and basketball i.q. It is not a system for an iso player like Russell. It was a mistake that the Warriors corrected by acquiring another iso player in Wiggins who isn’t a spot up shooter.
Wiggins averages 36% on catch and shoots. He averages 31% on pull up jumpers. He touches the ball 67 times per game and dribbles it 3 times per touch for nearly 4 seconds of the shot clock. D-Lo touches the ball 81 times per game and dribbles 4 timer per touch for 3 seconds of the shot clock.
I’m calling B.S. on D-Lo not fitting in.
Last season, Steph Curry touched the ball 76 times with 3 dribbles per touch and 3 seconds of the shot clock. The reason D-Lo wasn’t accepted was not his iso tendencies but for what he does when the ball isn’t in his hands. He loses interest off ball and he doesn’t set screens. Hmm. Same critique of Kevin Durant. But Durant’s total game made up for the flaws that very few noticed.
Getting rid of D-Lo was a no brainer. But not because of what he wouldn’t do. They knew that before hand. The Warriors never should have traded for him in the first place. They were too into their Durant hurt us feelings. The Warriors needed to adult last summer post Durant but they infantilized the entire process to soothe open wounds.
Andrew Wiggins isn’t going to fix any of the Warriors malaise. Just in case you think numbers lie and Wiggins just needs a change in scenery, I’ll refer to the late Chuck Daly who said you are your record.
Wiggins averages 22 points a game but has an offensive rating of 105. D-Lo’s offensive rating this year is 106. Both are horrible defenders. Russell made 40% of his jumpers and was efficient until the 4th quarter when his offense went into the tank. He was especially efficient at long two’s.
Wiggins has made 35% of his jumpers but has maintained similar consistency as the game goes on. His PER is 3.0 points lower than Russell’s 19.4 PER.
Before being traded, Andrew Wiggins was on a losing streak of 13 in a row. He began the streak with these auspicious plus/minus numbers. -25 (Houston). -22 (OKC). -5 (Indy). -3 (Indy). -13 (Toronto). -8 (Denver). He rebounded against the lowly Bulls, +6. Then the familiar. -6 (Houston). -10 (OKC). +8 against Sacramento. And more mediocrity. -16 (Clippers). -11 (Sacramento). -7 (Atlanta).
There are rumors about Wiggins being trade bait for Milwaukee when (and a mighty big if) Giannis leaves Milwaukee at the end of the 2021 season. But that kind of thinking is planning on a dream. The Heat are structuring contracts around the same thing and they aren’t in need of a trade to make it happen. So are a bunch of other teams.
And why would the Bucks want Wiggins anyway?
Besides his disappearing act, his no defensive self, his can’t make shots when you need him to, his moodiness, Andrew Wiggins can never be anything more than a third option, even as he’s getting paid as the first option. The Warriors trying to find another Harrison Barnes is logical math, but Andrew Wiggins isn’t it. They are stuck with him the next four years.
Those that say Andrew Wiggins hasn’t lived up to his hype are wrong. This is what scouts said on draft day:
The biggest issue is whether Wiggins has the mental make up to maximize his immense physical gifts. While some scouts are high on him, there are many that question his focus and passion for the game. Needs to work on moving without the ball, has a reputation of sometimes standing ball watching. Defensive awareness is something he must work on, along with always running to his spot and not relying completely on length, athleticism. Some question his lack of assertiveness, which calls into question his ability to be a primary option on a high level team. Has been compared to Kobe Bryant, but the biggest difference appears to be the attention to detail. So far, granted Kobe is extremely rare, the difference has been the attention to detail. (Michael Visenbert, NBA Draftnet.)
The biggest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. When people show you who they are believe them.