Minnesota Timberwolves: First-half player grades for the Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JANUARY 12: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Andrew Wiggins

  • Averaging 17.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game
  • Shooting a career-low 40.3 percent on field goals and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc

Overall, this has been a season of regression for Andrew Wiggins. There is no question about it.

That said, there have been plenty of signs of life in recent weeks, and a few things that Wiggins has absolutely shown incremental improvement in during the season. But we’re grading the year as a whole, and not just his post-Christmas play.

There wasn’t much to like about the first few weeks of the season, for Wiggins or the Wolves as a whole. Then, there was the Dec. 28 debacle against the Atlanta Hawks, in which Wiggins missed seven free throws and had a horrible series of misses late in an overtime loss to one of the worst teams in the league.

Following the game that night, Wiggins made some controversial comments about Wolves fans after being booed for his free throw troubles.

Some, including yours truly, took Wiggins to task for both his play and his reaction to the crowd’s impatience with his lack of progress as a player.

Since then, however, Wiggins has averaged 22.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and three assists per game. He’s still shot just 40.9 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from beyond the arc, but has at least shown necessary aggressiveness and played solid defense. Also in that span was a 40-point, 10-rebound game in Oklahoma City in which he led the Wolves to a win in Ryan Saunders’ head-coaching debut.

Wiggins still has plenty of work to do to be a truly ‘plus’ player; many of the issues he’ had through the first half of the current season are simply a continuation of his issues from last year.

For instance, the defense might be moderately more consistent, but it isn’t yet where it needs to be. The 3-point shooting has only taken an incremental step forward but isn’t back to where it was in 2016-17. He’s drawing more fouls, but again, not at his pre-Jimmy Butler level, and he’s still not shooting his free throws as well as he did then, either.

It’s starting to look like Wiggins won’t ever be the All-Star and potential MVP-level player that many thought he might be when he was drafted first-overall in 2014. But if he can get back to his 2016-17 self on offense and keep some of the defensive improvements he’s made, he can be a useful third or fourth-wheel on a good playoffs team.

Not ideal for someone being paid north of $25 million, of course, but it would be a significant improvement over where we are right now.

Grade: C