Andrew Wiggins and Astronomical Expectations for 2015-16


We’ve heard it all with Andrew Wiggins.

Before entering his freshman year at the University of Kansas, Wiggins was said by many to be the best high school prospect since LeBron James.

Throughout his only year at KU, however, he didn’t live up to the expectations of critics and analysts. Of course, he did show flashes of what he could bring to the table at the next level.

Feb 13, 2015; New York, NY, USA; World Team guard Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves (22) hoists the MVP trophy after the game against the U.S. Team at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Still, even after a “down” year at Kansas (if you even consider 17.1/5.9/1.5 a down year for a college freshman), Wiggins wound up as the first-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As Wolves fans, you know how he got here. The Kevin Love saga after last year’s draft ultimately landed Wiggins in Minnesota, giving him a team with low expectations instead of playing with LeBron in year-one.

Wiggins looked exactly like scouts said he was: raw with potential. Over the course of October and November, there was already some arguing on Twitter and NBA forums asking whether Jabari Parker have been picked over Wiggins.

It really wasn’t until January that Wiggins decided to show his potential. The rookie was scoring nearly twenty points per game at an efficient rate (47.1 FG%), showcasing his talent not just as the lockdown defender fans knew he would be, but as a great scorer, too.

The rest of the season went along smoothly for the rook. As the Wolves’ primary option, Wiggins scored about 19.5 points per contest, including an April were he scored an average north of twenty.

With his impressive performance came accolades. Wiggins earned the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award, receiving 110 out of 130 first place votes. With that said, it’s time for fans to stop clinging to the fact that Wiggins was the best rookie in the game last season and instead wonder where he’ll be at this time next year.

So what can we expect from Wiggins in the 2015-2016 campaign?

An improvement that almost every star sophomore seems to make in their second year is related to scoring efficiency, and Wiggins should be no different. Shooting just below 44% last year, he was barely under the league average (roughly 45% among all players and positions), meaning he undoubtedly has a ton of room to improve in that area.

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Take superstar Kevin Durant, for example. In his rookie year in 2008, Durant shot exactly 43%, well under the league average for that year. However, in Durant’s second year, he shot 47.6% from the field. Now, Wiggins may not be Kevin Durant, but we sure can expect a similar increase.

Wiggins’ field goal percentage isn’t the only thing that will be refined in terms of efficiency. We should also see his three point attempts and percentage increase. After a full year in the league, former rookies adjust to the longer arc, leading to better overall shooting from long range.

Don’t be surprised if Andrew Wiggins plays more minutes per game this season, either. I understand that the rookie played over thirty-six minutes in each contest last year, but historically, big-name players see minute increases from their first to second season, even if they played a large amount the year prior.

There are multiple examples of this happening in the last decade. For instance (if you consider Wiggins to be on the level that the superstars of today were after their rookie year), LeBron James played nearly three whole minutes more in his second season than his first — from 39.5 MPG to 42.4 MPG. Durant saw his role increase by almost five minutes. And Anthony Davis played more than six minutes per game more in his second season than his first.

One of the most obvious points that I will make in this piece is that Wiggins’ numbers should all rise (barring a freak injury). Sam Mitchell and the rest of the team knows that Wiggins is the guy and that it is his time. He should be the central focus of the Timberwolves’ offense and defense next season, and establish himself next year that will set the tone for the rest of his career.

With that said, all that’s left to do is to predict his statline for this upcoming season. Wiggins has a long way to go, but he’s well on his way already, and this season will be another building block to what is going to become a fantastic career.

Wiggins Predicted Statline for 2015: 20 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg, 1 bpg on 46 fg%

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