Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins, you can make $400 million…

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 4: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 4: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

If Minnesota Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins figures things out, he could be in line to make upwards of $400 million in his career.

Andrew Wiggins will have earned north of $170 million by the time he is 27 years old.

If the Minnesota Timberwolves wing makes an All-NBA team, he will qualify for a super-max extension in excess of $200 million. That means that by the time he is 33, he would have made $400 million in just NBA salaries, not counting endorsements.

Suffice it to say that it is time for Wiggins to regain his focus and step up to the plate.

Put simply, the Minnesota Timberwolves are stuck with Andrew Wiggins; they are not going to be able to unload his max contract without having to eat some of the salary themselves. At that point, it becomes a loss for the Wolves

Wiggins is only 23 years old and has theoretically not yet hit his stride as an NBA player. Clearly, there is a ton of untapped potential, and whichever version the Wolves get next season will play a large part in determining how successful the team is and whether or not they’ll make the playoffs.

Since his breakout scoring campaign in 2016-17 in which he averaged 23.6 points per game, Wiggins has been disenchanted, disengaged, and seemingly uninterested. There could be a combination of things for why this happened.

Perhaps he did not like the team’s style of play under Tom Thibodeau, and/or Thibodau’s gruff demeanor and coaching style. Maybe he did not like playing sidekick to Jimmy Butler.

Let’s try translating the NBA game to a corporate-level job. In the corporate structure, when an individual goes from being the CEO to then demoted to an account executive (basically, they are no longer running the show), they likely going to lose some confidence. We can throw every excuse in the book at Wiggins but that is not going to bring out the best in him. Embracing and encouraging Wiggins can only be done by giving him a chance to redeem himself.

The T-Wolves need Wiggins to be the CEO again. (Or, co-CEOs with Karl-Anthony Towns, if you will.)

Only Wiggins knows how hard he worked to become a skilled basketball player, as well, a max-level player. Heading into next season, the distractions named Thibodeau and Butler are gone. It is a clean slate and Wiggins can start back at the basics. But now, in order to sustain success, he needs to go back to what helped him reach the apex of his game.

During his 2016-17 career year, Wiggins had a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 16.5. Not great, but certainly more favorable than than the marks of his past two seasons, which clocked in at 13.0 and 12.4, respectively.

In 2016-17, he shot 45.2 percent from the field and had a 29 percent usage rate, meaning the offense essentially ran through him. He shot 35.6 percent from the 3-point line. The average distance of Wiggins’ made field goals (both 2’s and 3’s) was 12.6 feet. He also had 77 total dunks. During this past season, the average distance of Wiggins’ makes increased to 13.7 feet while he only had 39 dunks.

The takeaway here is that Wiggins is simply not as aggressive as he once was. For the most part, he settled for contested, low-efficiency jumpers.

Interim head coach Ryan Saunders has to make it a point to teach Wiggins to go back to his early NBA days of being a slasher and taking the ball aggressively to the rack. That’s how Wiggins will sustain NBA success, grow as a player, and reach his full potential. Wiggins is a former No.1 overall pick and the last thing he wants to be is an NBA flameout. If he goes back to his aggressive style of play, he goes back to being a 20+ point scorer and one of the more exciting and dynamic players in the game.

Another motivation is money. By the time Wiggins is 27, he’d have earned approximately $170 million after completing his current max contract. If — and it’s admittedly a big ‘if’ — he makes an All-NBA team, Wiggins qualifies for the super-max extension, which would be in the neighborhood of five years and $220 million (it will likely be higher because NBA salaries will increase four years from now).

Let’s say that Wiggins works himself out of the funk that he’s in, reaches his All-Star potential, and lands this super-max extension. That means by the time he’s 32 or 33 years old, he could have made nearly $400 million in NBA salary.

One more time: $400 million.

Now, if that number can’t motivate someone then they are in the wrong business. And hey, if money doesn’t do it, there’s always the motivation of being the best that one can be and reaching the pinnacle, both individually and as part of a collective team effort.

Wiggins has a golden opportunity. He can earn that money. He just needs to take some accountability, change his style of play, be motivated, and go back to what brought him success in the NBA. The more Wiggins is aggressive, the better player he’ll be, and the more wins it translates for the Timberwolves.

Next. 4 potential front office candidates for the Wolves. dark

Only time will tell what kind of NBA legacy Andrew Wiggins leaves, but he still has time to change things for the better.