Minnesota Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins was described as ‘Maple Jordan’ beginning early in his basketball career. Is there anything about his game that’s even comparable to Michael Jordan himself?
Andrew Wiggins has what appears to be a silky smooth shot, the quickness to beat defenders, and freakish athletic ability.
What, exactly, does his game lack that keeps him from having the success of his nickname-sake, Michael Jordan? Or, for that matter, any All-Star-level player?
Wiggins entered the NBA draft with a 44-inch vertical leap. Jordan could fly 46 inches into the sky. Jordan and Wiggins are both listed among the most elite athletic players (by vertical jump, at least) in the history of the league, according to The Exercisers.
Michael Jordan completed his last year with the North Carolina Tar Heels playing 29.5 minutes a game with a 55.1 field goal percentage while scoring 19.6 points per contest. Jordan left college with a basket-full of awards and accomplishments and was considered a great all-around player. He left college ball after three seasons and won an NCAA championship by making a game-winning shot, demonstrating early in his career his killer instincts to secure a ring.
Andrew Wiggins left the University of Kansas after his freshman year playing 32.8 minutes per game, with a 44.8 field goal percentage and scoring 17.1 points per game. It’s notable that Wiggins was a one-and-done player, compared to M.J.’s three years at UNC.
Andrew Wiggins was the number-one overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft at the tender age of 19, carrying the immense responsibility that comes with receiving such a payday. Michael Jordan was picked third-overall in the 1984 NBA Draft and entered the league at the age of 21.
Jordan entered the league having accomplished much more as a college player than Wiggins, which helped his development coming into the league but demonstrated his craving for success.
Jordan made between 90 and 94 million dollars over his 17-year career. He cashed in big with his Air Jordan shoes and other endorsements and they continue to pay dividends long after leaving the league.
Andrew Wiggins signed a five-year, $150 million contract and combined with his first four seasons of salary, will make about $175 million over his first nine years in the league. Last summer, Adidas shied away from signing Wiggins to a signature shoe deal which could be worth tens of millions of dollars annually.
"“I love playing with him,” Gibson said. “He’s one hell of a talent, he’s going to keep growing, and it’s such fun to play with him, because he’s so talented and the sky is the limit. He hasn’t even scratched the surface or anything off it yet. He still has so much more room to grow and it’s amazing.”"
"“We all know how talented Andrew is,’’ Butler said. “How he can get to any spot on the floor whenever he wants to. It doesn’t change, just because I’m back in the lineup. Just continue to do that. He’s keying in on defense, which is huge. Getting his hands on a lot of 50-50 balls, getting rebounds. That’s what we need out of Andrew. When he’s locked in, playing at that high a level, he’s changing the game for everyone.’’"
Andrew isn’t living up to the Maple Jordan title or $150 million dollar promise although he has the respect of the veterans on his team. Many have contended throughout his basketball career that focus is what Wiggins lacks to take the next great leap.
Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and many other NBA players pay a monthly fee to Graham Betchart, a respected mental strengthening coach, who helps players unlock their capabilities in new and unique ways.
When it comes to Michael Jordan, there are 10 lessons from PickTheBrain.com attributed to M.J. include “The Mind”.
"If you go there in your mind, it’s only a matter of time before you go there in body. You have to see it; if you can see it, if you can perceive it, then you will find away to get it. The question is “How bad do you want it?” If you don’t “want it,” you won’t get it! If you can live without it, you will. To succeed you have to be hungry; you have to thirst for success."
Can Wiggins live without being an NBA all-time great and champion, or will he develop the hunger that players such as Jordan have.
Timberwolves have six games left this season. We’ll all learn soon if he has the hunger and thirst for success or if he’s plenty comfortable watching the playoffs on TV.