Is Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins worth his rumored maximum contract, especially when compared to other max-contract players league-wide?
Andrew Wiggins has reportedly been offered a five-year, $148 million max contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has said that he is not a rush to sign the contract as he is looking it over until the beginning of the season.
Wiggins is coming off of a year in which he averaged 23.6 points, four rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Of course, the fourth-year forward will have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders if he indeed signs the the max deal.
Wiggins has made some improvements in his game, but an argument can be made that he does not deserve a max-contract due to his play. However, he has increased his per-game scoring average every year, going from 16.9 to 20.7 to 23.6. He has also jumped from being a 30 percent 3-point shooter to shooting a respectable 34.6 percent from deep a year ago. Additionally, he has been durable, playing in 245 out of his first 246 games.
But the knock on him is as an all-around player. He has not improved much as a defender, rebounder, or playmaker during his first three seasons. In order for him to show and prove he is worth that luxurious contract, he must prove he can improve in those areas. Timberwolves owner, Glen Taylor has stated he wants Wiggins to commit to becoming a better player if he’s to agree to this max contract with the Wolves. On it’s face, not a controversial thing to aim for as an owner, but certainly an odd way to go about it.
Looking at Wiggins’ reported max offer and his slight lack of improvement, it’s fair for fans to wonder if he is worth it.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a four-year, $100 million contract last summer and responded by having his best year and winning the Most Improved Player of the Year. Memphis’ Mike Conley signed a $120 million max contract last summer — at the time the biggest contract in NBA history — and Conley responded by having his best year to date while making improvements across the board.
While Wiggins may not have the same role as Antetokounmpo and Conley (or the same skill-set, for that matter), it is odd to see a player who has Wiggins’ talents, size and athleticism to only average four rebounds and 2.3 assists (a career-high). And don’t forget: Wiggins plays a ton of minutes, logging in the most minutes in the league last season at 3,048 and third in minutes per game at 37.2. A 6′-8″ small forward should be able to average better numbers with the amount of minutes that Wiggins plays and also as much as he has the ball in his hands.
The assist totals are at least in part a result of play-calling, as he was most likely the person to be on the finishing end of sets, but the rebounding is a different story — especially since the Timberwolves ranked 25th in the league in rebounding and 29th in defensive rebounding last season.
Of course, we have seen players not live up to max contracts and we have seen players exceed the expectations that come with a max deal. Let’s just hope that Andrew Wiggins sees how good he can be and understands that his contract comes with some newfound responsibilities — even beyond that of a former number-one-overall pick.