Andrew Wiggins is running away with the Rookie of the Year Award


The future looks bright in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Andrew Wiggins looks like a clear front-runner for the Rookie of the Year award.

According to ESPN, among qualified rookies he currently ranks first in points (14.7) and minutes per game (32.7). Surprisingly, Wiggins has also been an excellent from beyond the arc, shooting 38.7 percent from long range, which also ranks first amongst qualifying rookies.

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Wiggins’ advanced statistics aren’t as impressive, but that’s due to his huge workload. According to ESPN’s Hollinger stats, in a weak rookie class, he only ranks sixth in player efficiency rating (12), but all five players above Wiggins are averaging less than 20 minutes per game (besides the injured Jabari Parker).

With Parker out, the only true competition for Wiggins is Nikola Mirotic. The 23-year-old Montenegrin currently ranks fourth in points per game, and second in PER among rookies. Mirotic’s workload on a vastly superior Bull’s team, however, is nowhere near Wiggins’ as he averages roughly 14 less minutes per game.

Without a doubt, no other rookie means more to their team than Wiggins does to the Wolves. With the worst record in the Western Conference, the Wolves season has been a bigger disappointment than Godfather 3, but Wiggins makes this team fun to watch. While Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin remain sidelined due to injury, Wiggins has given the fan base reason for excitement.

Dec 26, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) shoots the ball over Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo (10) during the second half at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 106-102. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

But it hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows for Wiggins. For much of the early portions of the season, he’s looked like any other struggling newcomer. Many writers (including yours truly) were starting to wonder if Wiggins was slightly overhyped. Only a few weeks ago, he was on pace to have one of the worse rookie seasons ever by a first-overall selection.

Not too long ago, Wiggins had a player efficiency rating below 10, even worse than Kwame Brown’s first season (11.2 PER), which many considered the worst rookie year ever before Anthony Bennett came along.

However, over the last five games, Wiggins has been proving his doubters wrong, averaging 20.6 points per game, while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. According to the Timberwolves PR Twitter account, since 1963-64, only four teens have recorded more 20-plus point performances in their first 34 games.

Wiggins has been great as of late, but his body still needs to develop. He usually has the speed to get to the paint, but his small frame isn’t strong enough to contest at the hoop. Once Wiggins gains 10-15 pounds, he could become one of the best rim attackers in the NBA.

He also needs to mature on defense. The 19-year-old rookie is known for being a two-way player, but so far, he’s only been an adequate defender. According to, when guarding shooting guards, Wiggins’ opponents have a 14.7 PER, which is right around the league average (15).

The neophyte has shown glimpses of potential surrounded by nights of incompetence. He’s currently on the best hot streak of his young career, but with time, we may see more ups than downs from this soon-to-be stud.

The season may only be halfway through, but right now, Wiggins is by far the best all-around rookie in the NBA.

All stats are courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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