At age 21 Andrew Wiggins still has a long NBA career ahead of him, and a significant amount of time to improve his game. But with two full seasons and ~20% of a third under his belt, we have a substantial sample to assess the early returns on his NBA goodness.
It is fair to avoid extreme conclusion jumping after a player’s rookie season, but most stars show signs of their greatness in their second and third seasons, which will be the focus of this analysis. Let’s start with the rosiest statistical lense for Wiggins: PER. PER is the least predictive catchall statistic, and it overrates players who are precisely in Wiggins’s mold: high volume of shots at mediocre efficiency and little other value. First let’s compare him to the stud defensive wings with whom he was favorably compared pre-draft:
He is dead last in season 3, but that is a smaller sample than year 2 where he was clustered with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard for the top spot. He has plenty of time to rise to the middle of the pack in year 3 with 65 games remaining, and overall this looks not bad for him. But you also see the limitations with PER when a player like Luol Deng is rated similarly to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and this isn’t an apples to apples comparison when Wiggins has a higher usage than any of these types. Now let’s compare him to wing stars who actually took shots:
In year two Wiggins was in last place, and in year three he so far trails every player except Rudy Gay. Further, Rudy Gay had a lower usage over the same span (25.3 vs 27.6), which implies less artificial PER padding. This should not be surprising to anyone who read my comparison of Wiggins to Rudy Gay from July 2014.
In year two he was in last place and in year three he trails everybody other than Rudy Gay by a huge margin. Further, Rudy Gay actually had a lower usage over the span (25.3 vs 27.6), which implies less artificial PER padding.
Overall the most optimistic lense does not look all that promising for Wiggins.
Now let’s look at WS/48 which places greater value on efficiency and team success. There’s no need to cluster scorers any more since WS does not have any biases toward high usage:
Now all of the defense first types other than Metta World Peace have zoomed ahead of him. Other than Metta, Wiggins has Rudy Gay once again keeping him company at the bottom.
The most predictive metric to be found on basketball reference’s stat page is BPM. It highly values the intersection of rebounding and assists, as players who do both tend to be good and players who do neither tend to be bad. Intuitively it makes sense, as anybody who has the intersection of physical ability required to rebound and mental ability and skill level to accrue assists is probably good. Unfortunately Wiggins is bad at both, and this paints him in the most pessimistic light:
Now this ordering makes the most sense. LeBron stands out as the superduperstar that he is, and the defensive stars finally get their due for their impact on that side of the ball. Kawhi Leonard won finals MVP in his third seasons and Paul George led the Pacers within one win of the NBA finals, which are examples of how BPM is much more reflective of the truth than PER.
Even Rudy Gay scoffs at Andrew Wiggins’ BPM. Wiggins does almost *nothing* other than score with limited efficiency, and BPM illuminates the myriad holes in his statistical profile. In his 2nd season he was approximately a replacement player, now early in his 3rd year he has been twice as bad as a replacement player.
Of course this is the most negative perspective from which to view Wiggins– but it is interesting food for thought. Everybody always assumed his downside was a better version of Rudy Gay, but what if he is actually a worse version of Rudy Gay?
What about RPM?
The only remaining argument is that Wiggins statistics may undersell his defensive impact, as his athleticism and quickness gives him the ability to prevent easy shots even when he is not racking up blocks and steals. But his defensive real plus minus this year is -2.4 and last year was -1.8, which implies that he is extremely bad on that end. This should not be surprising to anybody who read my pre-draft analysis that Wiggins was not a guaranteed defensive stud.
The upside is that his offensive RPM is slightly positive in both samples, so his overall RPM’s have been -1.2 last year and -2.1 this year. Since his year 2 is the bigger sample, that overall puts him above replacement but clearly below average. I believe this is a reasonable approximation of the truth.
But stats do not tell the whole story!
This is true, but even if he is secretly better than the stats portray, it is hard to find a perspective showing he is on the path to greatness. Every great player had some *clear* indication that they were on the path to greatness by now. Even most fringe all-stars had much better indicators at this stage.
The best source of hope is DeMar DeRozan, who has a similar physical profile and game to Wiggins. He was slightly weaker in PER, WS/48, and BPM in his first 3 seasons, and while he is a good athlete drafted in the lottery, he does not compare to Wiggins’s #1 overall elite athleticism. Both players thrive off of mid-range scoring and drawing free throws. If Wiggins follows DeRozan’s outlier developmental curve, he should peak as a slightly superior version of DeRozan.
But is it truly a happy outcome if he becomes DeRozan? Toronto had to max DeRozan to keep him around, and many intelligent people would argue that this was an unfavorable contract for him. If Wiggins becomes a better version, he may be worth the max by a hair, but that is also a highly optimistic outcome.
At this stage Andrew Wiggins is clearly not on the path to greatness. He has no chance of becoming a top 10 player, and the optimistic comparison is akin to DeMar DeRozan or something slightly better. This is a dreadful upside scenario for a former #1 overall pick.
It was clearly a massive mistake to draft him #1 overall with a generational talent such as Joel Embiid on the board. While Embiid’s ability to stay healthy long term remains in question, it is clearly a more worthwhile gamble than hoping Wiggins magically becomes good at basketball.
I believe that ranking him #7 on my 2014 final big board has been vindicated as a fair ranking.
The value of a #1 pick lies in the star potential of the player chosen, and thus far Wiggins has shown close to zero star upside. It is time to stop treating Wiggins as a potential star– at this point he is a just a super athlete who has a sliver of NBA upside that will not be franchise changing. Even if he may go on to have a decent career, given his draft hype and #1 overall selection it is not too soon to say that Andrew Wiggins is officially a bust.
I read this utter garbage, you should never write another thing again in your life. This is the absolute worst article I have ever seen, you literally know nothing about basketball, and the NBA, so why the hell are you writing about it.
Clearly he’s trying to show why he was right in his 2014 draft board.
You’ve seen 15 games of embiid on an awful team with a minute restriction and you’re ready to dub him better than Wiggins?
I wouldn’t take Wiggins over any of who was under him in 2014 draft sans maybe Embiid.
It couldn’t have been more obvious that Embiid was a better prospect entering the draft, and it couldn’t have been more obvious that he is going to be a better pro from the moment he stepped on the court for Philly. I doubt you can find anybody with a clue who thinks it’s even close between Embiid and Wiggins.
I can’t imagine taking Wiggins over Gordon at this point
LMAO Timmy, Wiggins is now one of the worst high-usage players of all time:
still feel that way timmy?
Did Wiggins bang ur GF or something? You salty AF fam. How many points you ever scored in an NBA game scrub cuz Wiggins has scored 47.
Come talk to me when he’s in the playoffs.
So not this year even though he’s in year 3 and he has KAT who is 100x better than him? OK, I will patiently wait for KAT to become good enough to drag Wiggins in, and then I will discuss with you.
What is your background in the sport of basketball? This article is more absurd than if Skip Bayless was TRYING to sound like an idiot. Congratulations on adding to the media that thrives off of their outlandish remarks. Enjoy this website and your career while it lasts, because unlike Wiggins career it’ll be over soon with nothing to celebrate.
I am a professional basketball gambler. I earn my income by being right about basketball in lieu of having a regular job.
This website pays me nothing. It’s just a hobby when I want to share truths that are not obvious to regular folks like yourself 🙂
You’re show full of shit you’re eyes are turning brown. Show us your previous bets.
You two should get a room already.
Wiggins is already better than you ever thought he would be.
Thank you for writing this, I thought I was going crazy… He is still frequently talked about as a franchise player, and I just don’t see it
PS, when is your piece on Embiid coming out
Do I even need one? Everybody knows he’s amazing by now. People still in denial over Wiggins which makes it a more interesting topic.
He could name it “The 250 minute Hall of Famer”.
Fakhri Nail said:
Is this some sort of a sarcasm or a joke?
Lots of salty TWolves fans in here haha. The point he is making is that as a #1 pick he’s not as good as other players in his draft. He’s not terrible, hes an alright run of the mill NBA player. He hasn’t effected any meaningful change to the success of his team so far. If you get a #1 pick he’s supposed to turn your franchise around. Karl Towns looks poised to do that so don’t be too salty folks.
Joe smoove said:
He literally says “if Wiggins magically becomes good at basketball.” Not that he’s an alright run of the mill player. This article is so over the top.
Good analysis. I was surprised by the number of salty t-wolves fans who are too stupid to understand basic concepts like efficiency. It’s incredible how so many commenters say you know nothing about basketball despite every composite stat supporting your conclusion.
And it’s not even like the Wolves are rocking. They are 10-22 with KAT being CLEARLY better than Wiggins (and TBH LaVine is emerging as clearly better too), and Rubio is a pretty good vet.
You’d think at a certain point you’d expect them to stop and think that if KAT, LaVine, and Wiggins were all elite the team would be doing a bit better right now.
Thanks, I agree with all of this and have always been a big Wiggins skeptic. This year we’ve seen him improve his outside shot, but not much else (arguably he’s regressed in some ways), and I don’t know how sustainable the shooting is. At what point do you think Minnesota recognizes that Lavine, not Wiggins, has to be the second option there? Do you think Minnesota might even move on from Wiggins rather than give him a huge extension? Playing a terrible defender like this huge minutes, running so much of your offense through such a lousy, tunnel-vision passer, and letting him use so many possessions when he has been and probably always will be a pretty inefficient scorer makes it pretty hard for a team to contend.
I’d be surprised if they just let him walk. He’s a 21 y/o super athlete former #1 pick averaging 23 pts/game, so most people still think he’s a future star and the Wolves’ FO may share that sentiment. If they don’t believe he should be a part of their future, I’m sure they can find a good haul for him on the trade market.
It is possible that they trade him before next year’s deadline to cash in on his “upside” rather than committing to him longterm. But I’m not sure they are sharp enough to do this, and more likely will just extend him in case everything clicks. Not that I know what they are thinking, this is just my best guess.
So you fully admit that you’re just clicking buttons. Nice.
I gave my best guess and acknowledged that it was a sheer guess. Don’t see anything wrong with that.
Also, the title of this article may incite emotion, but you are a logical guy and you have to at least acknowledge that I showed a reasonable logical progression to arrive at my conclusion. You can argue with the usage of “bust,” but I was clear that I don’t think Wiggins is a guaranteed worthless player. Other than that, what are the flaws in my arguments that
1) He’s not that good right now
2) Players who aren’t that good at this stage normally don’t become great
It’s completely rational! Tell me where you disagree.
Yes your argument is completely rational. However, to call Wiggins an “outright bust” is senseless hyperbole in an attempt to gain more buzz for your blog.
They hired Thibideou of course they aren’t smart enough to cash in on his upside.
Great article. Wiggins isn’t a bad player but he’s just alright. The T’wolves went 41-41 the year before he got there. Yes they lost k-mart and Love and I think pekovic was hurt, but they only won 16 his rookie year. Who cares if he scored 47 in one game? He has no impact on W/Ls which is the whole point of the game, to win. I think Towns is overrated as well, he’s a very good offensive player who will make many all star teams but he isn’t a franchise changer. He’s not a future hall of famer. If he was that good the T’wolves would be better than 5-12 with him Wiggins Lavine and some other role players. As it is, the sixers are 3-9 in games Joel Embiid plays, not much worse than Minnesota but Embiid is playing with almost an entire roster of fringe NBA guys. Like I said great article, it goes against conventional wisdom but Wiggins isn’t that good.
There is no doubt that Wiggins haven’t lived up to the lofty expectations he had coming out of high school (which were Lebronesque btw) but to suggest he’s a bust at this point is way too early.
The biggest issue i have with this website is that Dean often goes out of his way to defend his sometimes controversial views on certain guys. This article on Wiggins is just another example of that.
I’m sure an article on why Julius Randle really was a worse selection than Jarnell Stokes will follow shortly.
Three On Tunes (@ThreeOnTunes) said:
what you lay out, here, is my greatest fear with this team. The eye-test of Wiggins says “a couple of near-unstoppable pet moves,” “ability (and willingness) to draw fouls and get to the line,” alone, would make him a valuable asset to the team.
It’s that pesky: “adding anything but scoring” thing that keeps lingering. That the Wolves are not appreciably better on defense this year (especially in crunch time)” is quite concerning, though it feels like (watching games) that Wiggins is making more of an attempt at distributing the ball this year, his asst totals are not up much, at all. Especially when you consider his usage is up and he’s doing a little more initiation of the offense.
Here’s what I don’t get: 1) Thibs’ coaching being unable to bring any more out of him (thus far) at the defensive end. 2) He seems to care. Worked his butt off improving his shooting in the off-season, and his (again) willingness to initiate contact & go to the line is upper echelon. Why – o – why does that not translate to being more involved in other aspects of the game?
I remember Wolves writer B. Robson once writing something suggesting that (and I’m paraphrasing) he has been tasked with carrying such a scoring load, often absorbing a ton of contact along the way, that there is an argument his still-young-and-maturing body is too physically spent to contribute in other aspects of the game.” But that was a couple of years ago, and that view seems to hold less water as time goes on.
Thanks for this article. Unhappily for Wolves fans, Wiggins will probably get maxed. Happily, though, Wiggins + Towns will still be worth a double max.
Alex S said:
Wiggins is what I call a hollow scorer. Players like this always get overhyped by most fans and the media due to their high PPG number. They also get overpaid and hold back their respective teams because they don’t add anything or are huge negatives in the playmaking, defense, and rebounding departments.
Funny that all the people saying this is a shitty article aren’t offering any legitimate counterpoints to what you wrote. I think this is largely correct.
I do think there is some hope for Wiggins in the sense that much of what’s holding him back is poor shot selection and effort on defense, which are theoretically easier to improve. At the same time, he’s still awful finishing at the rim so who knows how efficient he can really become, and even Thibs hasn’t helped him defensively at all so far.
He has two-plus years in the books of being a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer while not doing literally anything else of note on the court. He won’t necessarily be that for the rest of his career, but what’s the evidence anything’s changing or going to change? The burden of proof should be on people who think he’s going to be a top-25 guy that actually helps a team win.
By the way – I’m not a Knicks fan, but I’d be very interested to read a re-evaluation of Porzingis if you ever write one. Don’t think you’ve written anything on him since aggressively stating how overhyped he was pre-draft and tweeting early in 2015 about how his start wasn’t actually that impressive. This isn’t meant to shit on you, I think you do awesome work, I just love reading self-critiques by draft gurus because it helps me evaluate my process as well.
Funny how people who are saying this article is trash aren’t actually offering any legitimate critiques of what you wrote. I think your assessment is largely correct.
There still might be some hope for Wiggins because a lot of what’s holding him back is still shot selection/defensive effort. But (A) he’s a bad finisher in the paint so who knows how efficient he can really be, and (B) even Thibs hasn’t helped him defensively.
He has two-plus years of being a high-usage, low-efficiency scorer that doesn’t pass, rebound or defend. What evidence is there that something is changing or will change? There might be something, but the burden of proof is on the people who think he will be a top-20 guy in the league who actually helps teams win basketball games.
Unrelated, and I’m not a Knicks fan, but I’d be super interested to read if you ever did a re-assessment of Porzingis and your aggressively negative pre-draft view of him. Haven’t seen any posts or tweets about him since the start of his rookie year when you still said he was way overhyped. This isn’t intended as an insult, I think you’re among the best in the business, I just love reading self-critiques by draft gurus and think they help a lot with evaluating my own analysis.
It’s just too early to call him a bust, that’s all. And i’m not a fan of cherry picking stats or jumping to conclusions based on small samples sizes.
Having played for the late Flip Saunders as a rookie, the horrible Sam Mitchell last season and now having to try and learn defense from the ground up with Thibs without any veterans around him at any point surely havent helped.
Not going to make excuses for his lack of production across the board, but i think some of it can be explained by having to learn offensive and defensive principles under Thibs where there isn’t much room for gambling. Also, some guys just take longer to develop and while his game statistically right now is closer to Derozan or Gay, that isn’t the same as he wont ever be a top player. Give DeRozan a 3pt shot and let him learn defensive principles under Thibs for the fist half of his career and we’d be discussing him as an MVP candidate right now. Wait, he’s already in that discussion.
Also, the list of 21 y/o players who scored 47 points in a game is quite short and his tools and athleticism is off the charts. We may only have seen glimpses of that, but its there and it’s the reason why he was taken with the #1 pick.
I know Embiid looks awesome, but he had legit red flags before the draft – big men with back and foot issues does not have a good track record in the nba and the jury is still out on Embiid who currently is on a 25 minute restriction in only 13 games.
Why would anyone take the time to seriously critique what is obviously only trollish clickbait in the first place? Silly arguments don’t deserve serious responses, and “Andrew Wiggins is a bust because of BPM/RPM” is nothing if not a silly argument.
I carefully wrote out ALL of the reasons why I thought he wasn’t that good pre-draft (inefficient offense, questionable BBIQ, not that good at defense/rebounding) and now all of the data bears that out in a way that it hasn’t for a single current star at the same stage in their career.
I used all of the data available and offered my own analysis on top of it. If there is a perspective that he is good other than “he scores lots of points and jumps high” than I’m certainly missing it because nobody has pointed it out.
Big Wolves fan here. Just saw your board from 2014 and I couldn’t agree more with thoughts on Wiggins and your 2014 board.
Wiggins at this point can still only see 2 people on the floor at any time in the game which renders him a awful rebounder (must see shooter, man to box out and his own placement), awful team defender (his only hope right now is on ball), and faciliator (need to see open teammate in addition to self and defender, ideally the open man’s defender’s action).
I don’t know if these things will come. To me he’s a 6th man type. He’s a tremendous athlete, can draw fouls, good ball hander, and improved 3pt shooter.
Unfortunately for the Timberwolves they have Wiggins, LaVine, and Muhammad as 3 of their best 6 players. None of them can see more than themselves and one other player on the court at this point in their careers. LaVine may just be getting there.
p.s. keep up the hard analysis. don’t worry about bad mouthing people without any backing statistically. not that you were. carry on. you may have just motivated me to start blogging too vs all twitter banter.
I followed Wiggins’ college career closely. Your eyeballs could tell you after about his first 5 college games (maybe even less) that he was way overhyped. People talked about his athleticism, but it was a very limited type of athleticism, because it was raw athleticism with bad coordination. You mentioned DeRozan. I don’t think DeRozan is all that smooth and fluid of a player, but Wiggins will be fortunate to ever even approach DeRozan’s level of coordination and fluidity of movement, dexterity, etc.
All that said, it’s too early to declare him a bust. I think he will be a bust, but the book isn’t written yet, I could be wrong. Lots of strange things happen in life lol.
Also, it’s not fair to compare Wiggins’ 2nd and 3rd years to Kawhi and Paul George’s 2nd and 3rd years. KL and PG both stayed in college for 2 seasons. So it might be better to compare AW’s 2nd and 3rd years in the NBA to KL/PG’s 1st and 2nd years in the NBA. Not sure if that would make things look better or worse for Wiggins, but it might be fairer.
This is very insightful and eye-opening. I had wondered about this, but hadn’t looked at the numbers as you did here. My hope for Wiggins is that he develops better shot selection and learns to distribute rather than force when he doesn’t have a shot. Thank you for writing this and please ignore all of the hate you’re getting! People with low basketball knowledge who used to play the game are threatened by statistics that contradict their ill-conceived beliefs.
It’s way too early to call him a bust. Some of your points are valid but he is 21 years old.
Plus, who made the mistake in drafting him #1 overall??? Remember, the Wolves didnt draft Wiggins. Cleveland did, and traded him for KLOVE.
This isn’t an anti-Wolves writeup. I didn’t say a word about the Wolves doing a bad job. I just said he was the incorrect pick at #1 overall with Embiid on the board, and overall is on a career trajectory to be a significant disappointment.
Brett Dobson said:
I find this article interesting, as you have compared him to superstars at the same stage in their careers and believe he is a bust. Yet haven’t compared to the players in his draft as he may be a bust as a number 1 pick (big call so early). But is a pseudo number 1 as the rest of the draft is poor, I would have thought he stacks up well against them all after 2 and a bit years. Embiid looks very special but also very small sample size and injury issues.
Do you have any stats comparing Wiggins to the rest of his draft ?
The word Bust is pretty harsh. I mean, Eddy Curry, now that’s a bust. I’m in general agreement that Wiggins is less than all that, but I think the term you used is unnecessarily harsh and flat out inaccurate.
Eddy Curry, now that’s a bust. Wiggins is a serviceable NBA player and not gonna live up to the hype, but bust? A little harsh.
It was harsh word choice, but I was in the mood to be bold and I was clear about my stance in the article. It’s not that he is a worthless NBA player, rather that he fell so far from expectations such that it’s little consolation to end up with him rather than a complete joke like Curry or Darko.
Embiid was probably on the top of most mocks, but with a stress fracture in his foot and the back issue he was considered too risky at #1 and you can hardly blame teams for passing on the guy.
Wiggins was too hyped coming out of high school and in college weren’t the once-in-a-generation player that people thought he’d be, but still improved throughout the year and had some games where he was super dominant, including a 19 rebound performance and his 41-8-2-5-4 game and with his truly unique athleticism he was a fair pick at #1. The other guys that were in the mix were Parker who lacked athleticism and were projected to be a poor man’s Melo (at best), Exum’s hype was based on an extremly small sample size and while there was a case ot be made for Smart and Gordon, i think Wiggins had much higher upside offensively than those guys and also was likely to be very good defensively.
The question is, what would the draft order be if you had to do a re-draft using the info we have now?
KC Res said:
He was a likable kid at KU, but could do nothing other than shoot. He hid during big moments in games. I hope the best for him, but this does not surprise me.
He was a likable kid at KU, but he couldn’t do anything other than shoot. He would hide during big moments in games. I hope the best for him, but this isn’t surprising.
Never write an article relating to the NBA again. This is beyond stupid.
Timberwolves fan here; I agree with you 100%. I am in the minority when I say that the Wolves should trade both Wiggins and Lavine. Their perceived value is still much higher than their actual on-the-court value. And they just aren’t worth the money you are going to have to pay them after their rookie deals are up. I’d be calling Danny Ainge and trying to get a Wiggins for Crowder + ’17 Nets pick trade. Hell, I’d probably settle for Wiggins for Crowder straight up if negotiations got tough.
Most overrated part of Andrew Wiggins game is his athleticism. Can he run fast and jump high? Yes. Is he athletic with the ball? No. For people who say he’s young, there’s two types of young players. Joel Embiid is a guy who I would say “he’s young” and as a result he’s got some bad turnovers and needs work on his post game, but Joel Embiid has also had a large impact defensively and singlehandly has turned the sixers from the worst team into a team in the 20-25 range. Whereas Andrew Wiggins is “young” but the things that he struggles with are harder to fix. Finishing at the rim, ball handling, and defensive effort to name a few. Fixable for sure but the odds of him fixing all three aren’t great.
Also, regardless of stats, HE HAS NO IMPACT ON WINS AND LOSSES. This is the point of the game. To win. He could score 30 or 35 and have next to no impact on his team’s chances of winning. Towns is better but still isn’t the franchise changing guy people think he is. With Towns Wiggins and Lavine and a solid supporting cast the wolves stink. Maybe they’ll turn it around. But Embiid’s sixers are only one game back of the wolves and his supporting cast is awful.
Rob B. said:
Did it ever occur to you that Wiggins is playing out of position as a 3 and instead should be a 2 (due to Zach Lavine) ?
I don’t see why this matters at all. If anything it favors players statistically to play a position up as smaller lineups tend to perform better offensively.
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Hi Dean, thanks for the very excellent analysis. Since you make a living on basketball , I pay close attention.
My question is…. how does Kobe compare to Wiggins? Is it unfair since Kobe was a little younger?
Kobe crushes Wiggins in pretty much every way. Starting his career 18 months younger is part of that. But also he was pretty much better at everything and progressed faster at a young age. By his 3rd season he was already a clearly good player and by his 4th season he was clear cut 67 win champion. Wiggins is 6 months older than 4th year Kobe now, and I know KAT isn’t yet an acceptable Shaq substitute, but the Wolves have already lost more games than the Lakers did all year.
Kobe seems to have much better vision and instincts and probably is a crazy hard worker too. And his footwork looks smoother. He’s just better through and through.
While I agree bust may be a bit harsh, I will say I’ve watched a lot of League Pass games over the past few years with the Timberwolves on and it doesn’t portend a star or anything close to it. His lack of any counting stats compared to his usage rate raise huge red flags. Rubio has been in and out of the lineup every year, and his assist and rebounding numbers are too paltry for a player of his pedigree, size, athleticism and opportunity with the ball in his hands.
Rudy Gay maybe. But what about Gallinari? Strong penchant for getting to the line, good coring numbers when healthy, but never moves the needle much…
Even Gallo has an easier time fitting into a wider range of lineups bc he’s so much more efficient and better at shooting. Don’t think you can just cut Wiggins’ usage and see a huge spike in efficiency like that. Even though Gallo isn’t a franchise changer, he contributed to some pretty good Nuggets teams his first few years there.
Thanks for the analysis vs. Kobe. Have you done an analysis of Devin Booker? He was the 13th pick in the draft, which was the same number selection for Kobe.
Hi Dean, why are we comparing Wiggins to Rudy Gay? Rudy Gay could at least play serviceable defense (plus defender in his prime in Memphis) and pull down boards (double TRB%) for someone of his physical profile. We should be comparing Wiggins to Kevin Martin. Empty scoring while offering disastrous defense, no playing making and poor rebounding. To boot, he is not even an efficient scorer like Martin.
Was he really a plus defender? I know haralabob always hated him and he charts players defensively– I doubt he would have bashed him that hard if he played plus defense.
But you are right– Rudy Gay did do SOME things better than Wiggins, and he has yet to show what he can do better than Rudy outside of have a better theoretical upside due to superior athleticism.
LOVE the KevMart comparison. He pretty much is a less efficient KevMart right now.
The best thing you can say is he is super athletic and has time to improve, but right now he is a hybrid of the worst qualities of Gay and KevMart which isn’t a good thing to be.
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Kyle Sherman said:
I don’t think the author can make things any clearer than he just did in this article. Those stats are staggering, and a pretty damn good indicator that the cavs absolutely killed it when they got Love for him. I compare him to TJ Warren, stats-wise, and that is a damn shame for someone with that much god given ability, but zero knowledge of what kind of basketball actually wins. He offers nothing but empty buckets(as of now) and that CANT be argued by showing me some of his awesome dunks. Still just count for 2. Absolutely mind blowing how average he is compared to similar position players!
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Andrew Wiggins is not a franchise player period. The player he most reminds of, in terms of overall play style and stats, is Corey Maggette. Like Corey, he also can’t play defense.
I also agree that Embiid is the real deal. It’s just too bad about the injuries.
What a great article. Don’t listen to all these guys who think ppg means anything. You should do another article on klay thompson.
James C said:
Figures don’t lie. The ‘eye test’ is so biased I’ve almost stopped using it as a baseline. My eyes have shit for brains. For me, Wiggins is a highlight reel waiting to happen but does that make his team win? Not always. He’s not a bust but he’s also not a clear number one pick either.
I quite like articles like this that have counterpoints to generally accepted views. Well done. The only thing I’d say as a constructive criticism is to not take a hardline view of Wiggins. The article read like a piece that reinforced the authors view but perhaps didn’t look at stats / facts that supported Wiggins. Perhaps there aren’t a lot of facts or figures that support Wiggins being a franchise piece but just something to think about.
Some of the best articles / scouting reports I’ve read take multiple views and get the reader to make up their mind.
Still, great article and I look forward to reading more. Kevin O’Connor has talked you up on Reddit btw.
Thanks! I know that’s my weakness, but it’s hard for me because I only write about players where I have made up my mind with a strong opinion. And I had an extremely negative opinion about Wiggins pre-draft, and felt that sharing the point that “maybe he becomes DDR” is roughly the pinnacle of optimism for him at this point. I just don’t see any statistical or qualitative perspective that supports a more optimistic outcome.
And the other thing is that popularity isn’t my goal. I have no interest in a writing career– I just like sharing my thoughts for fun in case they get validated multiple years down the road.
James C said:
Fair enough. That makes writing pieces like this a little easier. I’m not sure it’s a matter of making people agree with you or like you, it’s more about getting things right.
I quite agree about your assessment of Wiggins. I find I often look for information to reinforce my initial view (because of pride mostly) and sometimes ignore other facts that may muddy the waters.
My view of Otto Porter last season couldn’t be more different to my view of him now. Perhaps I ignored information because of bias. I’m not sure yet.
Yup– confirmation bias is a real and it’s hard to avoid when you badly want to be right. I have fallen victim to it plenty of times in the past, so I try to constantly look at the other side to make sure I’m not doubling down on a bad opinion.
I can see how Otto can be a tough one considering his rookie season. But if you completely overhauled your opinion from last season to this, it was probably affected by bias a bit. Everybody should have a higher opinion of him now than then, but he showed potential as an above avg 22 y/o role player last year, and the main reason he has blown up this year is bc of his 46% 3P which is not sustainable. He also got better in other areas and is likely a better shooter now, but is not 9%+ pts better from 3.
But it can be hard to know whether improvement is real or a mirage, so my policy is to just assume I have SOME bad opinions. Bearing this in mind, I find it productive to comb through my opinions and think “which one of these are the weakest” and then see if I can construct a compelling argument the other way. If I can, it’s probably a good idea to drop or at least diminish that take.
The TWolves should trade Wiggins now while his value remains (artificially) high. They could probably get a lottery pick for him and then tank the remaining of the season to stack the lottery odds in their favor. They would then have a great shot at the playoffs next year provided they either use one of those picks on a three point shooter or sign on in free agency.
They absolutely should. Wiggins has such a polarizing range of opinions, the GM of the other 29 who has the highest perception will inevitably rate him FAR too high. But the Wolves’ problem is that they likely are among the teams that rate him at the peak of his value and will stick with him. But if they could trade him for a #7-10 pick in this year’s draft, that would be an excellent deal for them IMO.
James C said:
That would be an excellent deal. Something tells me they wouldn’t want anything less than top 5 though.
With Lavine’s ACL blown, I would want to get a scorer with better defensive skill sets. I’m constantly shaking my head at both Lavine’s and Wiggins’ inability to defend. Perhaps they play too many minutes to care or they’re still picking up Thibs’ defensive schemes. Either way, they’re incredibly frustrating because they have the ability to defend well.
I’m hoping medical technology can get Lavine back to 90% of his ability because he’ll be hampered in a few years time. But he is a mutant so perhaps he bucks the trend.
Hall of Fame said:
LOL. Kevin Martin didn’t put up back to back 40 point games on better than 50% shooting at under 22 years old. In fact only 3 other players have ever done it before Wiggins. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Allen Iverson.
Andrew Wiggins is averaging 23ppg on 46% shooting at 21 years old and people are saying he’s a bust. Hilarious.
Wayne Dolesman said:
Funny, you think Wiggins is overrated, when there’s what 2 guys you can argue you’d draft over him if you re-did it today? Also, talk to me when Embiid makes you through a 2nd season. The other guy, Clint Capela. Yeah, still in a re-draft you’d take Wiggins 1 or 2.
……still feel that way?
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This was spot on
this was absolutely spot on!
I just stumbled on this page from a comment in a recent Deadspin post. Boy, these butt-hurt commenters incredulity hasn’t aged well, huh?
You should totally do a follow up article, supporting how Wiggins has turned out to be just as mediocre as you suggested.
Not only that, but you should literally call out the commenters by name and dare them to say shit now.