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Andrew Wiggins Is Just Scratching The Surface

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Eventually, we are probably going to all move to Mars. Not we as in the literal sense, but the human population. Probably hundreds of years from now.

How do I know this? I saw a commercial for a TV show last week and it seemed pretty convincing.

So, let’s go to Mars. Eventually, I would think I’d meet an alien. The alien, let’s call him ‘Ed’ and I would probably start talking. Talking about what? I don’t know. Probably "X-Files" and how bringing back the show might have been a mistake even though David Duchovny is incredibly talented.

We'd start to talk about hobbies. I’d mention basketball. Ed would ask me about basketball. I’d explain the sport to him and ask him if he’s ever seen “Space Jam.” He’d tell me his uncle was actually in the movie. He’d ask me about some of the best  basketball players right now.

At some point, Andrew Wiggins would come up. 

First, I would explain to Ed that Wiggins is an athletic freak. He’s a pogo stick (Ed would ask what a pogo stick was, but for the sake of this piece of literature, we won’t get into it even though he was really excited about it).

I would explain his spin move and how he draws tons of fouls on his way to the basket. I would explain how Wiggins was a former No. 1 pick and won the Rookie of the Year award in his first season and then went onto score four more points per game in his second season.

Ed would be impressed. Then I would tell him the best part. Wiggins is only 21 years old and I don’t know how that translates to alien years, but I would imagine it’s young. 

Ed would quickly realize something. There’s ridiculous amounts of potential with Wiggins, but nobody is quite sure how much. 

Of course, I’m writing this a day after Wiggins scored a career-high 47 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in a win at the Target Center. Convenient timing, I know.

But let’s say that didn’t just happen (even though it definitely did. I was there).

Look at his improvement throughout his career. He scored 16.9 points per game during his rookie season. He upped that to 20.7 per game last season (in a minute less per game). And in 2016-17, he’s averaging a team-high 26.3 points per game, ranking ninth in the NBA.

Since he entered the league, Wiggins has been excellent at getting to the free-throw line. In his first three years, he’s gotten to line 5.7 times per game, 7.0 and 9.0, respectively. For all those Lakers fans complaining about fouls from Sunday night’s game, I mean, it’s not like Wiggins isn’t great at drawing fouls. That’s a thing. Don’t want him to go to the line? Well, don’t foul, I guess. But then he’ll probably just finish at the basket. Pick your poison.

At Summer League, Wiggins told Timberwolves.com that his biggest focus in the offseason with trainer Drew Hanlen was his outside shooting and ball handling. He actually ended up changing his shot, which seems like it would be hard thing to do after shooting the same way for 15 years.

Has it paid off? 

Oh, I don’t know . . . Wiggins is only shooting a career-high 47.9 percent from the field and a ho-hum, league-leading 54.8 percent from the 3-point line on 3.4 attempts per game. 

“I’m finding myself,” Wiggins said after scoring 47. “I’m finding things I’m good at, things I need to work at. The game’s just slowed down for me a little bit and I’m able to read the defenses and see how they’re playing me.” 

Last season, it wasn’t a secret that Wiggins was upset that he didn’t make the All-Star game in his home city of Toronto. Not because he thought he should have been voted in, but because he didn’t perform the level that he needed to in order to get there. 

He came into this season telling reporters that he’s too tall and athletic to not get more rebounds (he averaged 3.6 last season and is averaging 4.1 this season). He’s tough on himself and despite his cool, calm and collected demeanor that sometimes gets confused with boredom, it’s quite the opposite. Wiggins is competitive. He cares more than we’ll ever know. In his first game against the Cavaliers (the team that picked him No. 1 and traded him), he scored 27 points. In his second game, he scored 33. Coincidence? As Timberwolves.com friend DJ Khaled once said, don’t play yourself.

Wiggins missed a 3-pointer on Sunday night against the Lakers that would have given him 50 points. He was asked after the game if he could tell how badly the fans wanted him to hit 50.

“Not as bad as me.” 

Are there things to work on? Of course. His ball handling isn’t quite where it needs to be and defensively, you better believe head coach Tom Thibodeau would like to see an improvement.

“I think defensively, too, a lot,” Thibodeau said about Wiggins’ room to improve. “I think he’s smart, he’s driven, I think sometimes mistakenly people take it that he’s laid back. He’s competitive. And I think he’s just scratching the surface. I think he can do a lot more.”

And for his potential, Tom? 

“I don’t want to put a lid on it. It’s what he wants it to be. If he continues to work the way he’s working and preparing, studying and practicing the way he’s practicing, he’ll continue to improve.” 

We have no reason to doubt Wiggins. Improvement is exactly what we’ve seen from him in his first two-plus seasons in the league. 

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