Wiggins Has The Potential To Turn Franchise Around

Dane Mizutani
Web Editorial Associate

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Andrew Wiggins is at last a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

A trade that’s seemed imminent for much of the last month was finalized Saturday as 30 days officially passed since Wiggins signed his rookie deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As soon as the dust settled Cleveland ended up with Kevin Love, Minnesota came away with Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and Thaddeus Young, and the Philadelphia 76ers shed some cap space and acquired a future first-round pick and Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved.

This was a good trade for all three teams involved. Cleveland got its guy to pair next to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Minnesota got a young crop of players that fits the organizational goals of getting more athletic. And Philadelphia shed some cap space and further ravaged its roster amid a vicious rebuild.

It’s obviously great for the Cavaliers in the short term as they become instant title contenders. It could, however, end up being a better deal for the Wolves in the long run.

If Cleveland wins a title in the next five years, it makes that trade 100 times out of 100 times. In that same vein, if Wiggins reaches the heights he’s capable of as a player, and turns the franchise around, Minnesota also takes that trade 100 times out of 100 times. 

Wiggins has the potential to be a legitimate superstar in the league, a guy that can potentially lead a team to the promise land, a true No. 1 option on a championship team. There aren’t many guys like that in the league right now. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the only locks. There can be arguments made for guys like Carmelo Anthony, among others, and the jury is still out on guys Anthony Davis. A player that can legitimately turn around a franchise doesn’t come around very often.

The Wolves potentially have that in Wiggins.

It’ll be years before he reaches his prime, and thus, years before the world sees if Wiggins is really the league’s next superstar.

That said Wiggins has all the tools. This isn’t some project player with potential the Wolves are taking a flyer on. This is the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, a guy that entered the collegiate realm with more buzz than any prospect in recent memory, touted as the best prospect since LeBron James. He enters the NBA with a similar type of buzz surrounding him.

Wiggins is uber athletic and his defensive skills will translate to the NBA as soon as he steps on the court. He also possesses elite athleticism that will help ease his transition to the next level. If he can harness some of his raw offensive talents, he could be a truly special player in the league.

A number of people got a first hand glimpse of Wiggins in action at Summer League in Las Vegas. He dazed the crowd with a few eye-popping plays and looked fairly comfortable on both ends of the floor. Wiggins averaged 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks during the 10 days of competition.

He’s ready for the NBA — at least he better be ready for the NBA. 

It’s been 10 years since the Wolves have made the playoffs, and the only time the franchise has had a legit shot at contending for an NBA title was late in the Kevin Garnett era. It’s been a long time and the franchise and the fan base is searching for something right now.

It may have found it in Wiggins.