1. Andrew Wiggins’ (lack of) progression
Ah, here we are again. Discussing Andrew Wiggins’ disappointment of a season and wondering if he can ever live up to his maximum contract.
Indeed, the only area of Wiggins’ game that has clearly improved is rebounding. Apparently Saunders finally got to Wiggins with his message of aggressiveness and effort; Wiggins has seen his rebounding rate increase from 6.9 percent a year ago to 7.6 this season. His career mark still sits at just 6.7 percent.
He’s also been handling the ball a bit more in the offense following Butler’s departure. That means that he’s had more opportunities to tally assists, and he’s done okay in those situations.
Wiggins is also being a little bit more aggressive, shooting the ball more at the rim and from beyond the arc than last year, but he’s still not drawing fouls at anywhere near the clip he did in his first three years in the league, and he’s been terrible shooting the ball from mid-range.
While Wiggins is now taking “only” 19.5 percent of his field goal attempts from beyond 16 feet and inside the arc, he’s only making a horrific 29.3 percent of those shots. Part of this is due to degree of difficulty, of course, but clearly, there are more issues at play here.
In 2016-17, Wiggins shot a whopping 25.3 percent of his attempts from beyond 16 feet and inside the arc, but he made 38.3 percent of them — still not good, but leaps and bounds better than where he’s at so far this season.
The only way that this season can be seen as a success for Wiggins is if his rebounding and assists continue to trend upwards — and fast. Clearly, Wiggins and Saunders have a close relationship, and if Saunders can’t bring out the desire and want-to in Wiggins on the glass and taking the ball to the basket, then nobody can.
We’ll revisit these items come mid-April. Or, if a miracle happens and the Wolves are in the playoffs, we’ll get back to you whenever the season comes to an end…