Preseason Predictions | Andrew Wiggins Will Bounce Back

Andrew Wiggins may not have had the best season last year, but now it seems like the collective expectations for the young forward have dipped so low that Wiggins has real potential to be the Wolves’ sleeper for 2018. 

Everywhere you look there is someone saying something negative about Wiggins. However, scoring at the level that he does at just 23 years old is fairly unprecedented. In 2016-17, Wiggins averaged 23.6 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting. There’s no reason to think he can’t get back closer to those numbers this year. 

Wiggins is the first to admit that last season wasn’t his best, but it’s also easy to see why. Nobody was impacted by the arrival of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota more than Wiggins. He went from one of the two top scoring options on the team, to unsure what exactly his role was offensively.

The key for Wiggins to realize his sleeper potential and prove his doubters wrong is his intensity. Wiggins is an absolutely elite finisher around the rim, but not enough of his attempts come from close in. Using his length and speed to spend more time slashing to the rim and finishing lobs would be huge, as would utilizing his developing three-point shot to fake defenders into the air before driving around them. That would also help Wiggins get to the line more, where he shot poorly last year but has historically been very good. 

On the topic of three-pointers, Wiggins attempted a career-high 4.1 shots per game from beyond the arc in 2017-18. He made 1.4 per game for a percentage of 33.1. The previous year, Wiggins averaged 1.3 threes per game on 3.5 attempts. The idea that Wiggins has been consistently regressing is often tossed around but has very little basis in fact. Last year was the first year since he entered the league that he did not improve in almost every statistical category. 

Wiggins is also extremely durable—he has missed just one game in his four-year career and has never dealt with a serious injury. For the last few years Wiggins has struggled under the shadow of expectation, but now that it seems like everyone is expecting him to fail, don’t be surprised if Wiggins steps up for a career year.