Andrew Wiggins Is Set Up To Succeed In 2019-20
As we recap the 2018-19 Timberwolves season, our Kyle Ratke and Julian Andrews will be taking a look at each player on the roster and how we'll remember their season. We continue with wing Andrew Wiggins.
KR: The last two seasons haven’t been the best for Andrew Wiggins, and he’ll be the first to admit it.
In his defense, his role with the team hasn’t been exactly clear. When the team traded for Jimmy Butler, Wiggins' role diminished and you could tell there was some confusion on what exactly he was supposed to do.
That should change moving forward. If anything has been made clear this offseason, it’s that the Wolves – led by Gersson Rosas – are going to do everything they can in their power to help Wiggins succeed. That trickles down to head coach Ryan Saunders, who has a great and honest relationship with Wiggins. Saunders is the only coach who has been on the team’s coaching staff since Wiggins has arrived.
While Wiggins hasn’t been consistent, neither have the pieces around him apart from Karl-Anthony Towns.
Wiggins wasn’t efficient last season, shooting just 41.2 percent from the field. But he did set career highs in rebounds (4.8) and assists (2.5) per game.
The talent is obviously there with Wiggins. He had 29 games with 20 or more points last season and four with 30 or more. That doesn’t just happen. It just needs to happen more often.
It feels like Wiggins is a veteran, but let’s not forget he’s only 24 years old. There’s plenty of growing left to do. Wiggins has been in Minneapolis, along with other teammates, this offseason getting work in. This isn’t something the team has done in the past and shows you just how much they are buying into this new regime.
I’ll be interested to see how Minnesota’s offense changes and how that will impact Wiggins.
Wiggins' usage rate was 28.5 in 2016-17 when he averaged a career-high 23.6 points per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from the 3-point line. Over the last two seasons, his usage rate has dipped to 22.7 and 23.9 percent, respectively.
There’s no denying that 2019-20 season will be a big one for Wiggins. The Timberwolves are well aware of that.
JA: The biggest beneficiary of the Wolves’ move towards long-term stability in the front office and coaching staff this summer might be the 24-year-old Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is extremely talented and possesses the skills and physical traits to be an elite two-way player in the NBA. Head coach Ryan Saunders is the perfect guy to help him reach his potential.
Wiggins is ready to raise his game to the next level. He’s been working out in Minnesota this summer perfecting elements of his game that will help him take the next step as a great complimentary piece next to Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins showed growth this season as a rebounder and a playmaker, averaging career highs in rebounds and assists. He’s also been steadily improving his three-point shot. He averaged more threes this year than in any other year and his percentage was higher than every year of his career except 2016-17.
The biggest thing to remember with Wiggins is how high his ceiling still is and how much room his game has to grow. When he attacks the boards like he did towards the end of the 2018-19 season he can go coast-to-coast better than many players in the league. He’s also an underrated ball-handler. The Wolves used him at point guard for stretches when injuries hit.
The highlights are there for Wiggins. He’s liable to go off for 40+ points on any given night. The issue has always been consistency. Now that he knows what to expect with Saunders as his coach and he knows he has a coach and front office that support him, the sky is the limit. The added chemistry from working out with his teammates this summer will work wonders too.
The Wolves’ core group of players is very young and very exciting. There is a picture of this team emerging that is very encouraging—a team that plays fast, plays hard and plays together. Wiggins is right there in the middle of that picture. A player with his talent-level is going to succeed in that kind of a system. Wiggins is ready to take a big step forward.