Wait, is Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins good now?
Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Andrew Wiggins appears to be finally turning the corner. Through the Timberwolves’ first 10 games of the season, Wiggins is averaging a career-high 25.5 points per game while shooting an efficient 47.3 percent from the field, 33.8 percent from beyond the arc and 72.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Last season was a nightmare for Wiggins, who was booed at home games multiple times. The swingman averaged 18.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 41.2 percent from the floor, 33.9 percent from the 3-point line and 69.9 percent from the charity stripe.
One of the main reasons star Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves was he felt he couldn’t compete in the rugged Western Conference with Wiggins by his side. Wiggins has all the talent in the world, but he hasn’t been consistent in the league and appeared to lack the motor it takes to be an All-Star in the NBA.
However, under head coach Ryan Saunders, Wiggins looks more comfortable on the court and is starting to live up to the hype of being a number one overall pick. Before the season started, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said Wiggins has “got to be a main contributor” for Minnesota to have success this season. Rosas’ prediction has come to fruition early in the season.
Over the summer, everyone kept saying Wiggins has one of the worst contracts in the NBA. Wiggins is making $27.5 million this season. The numbers he’s currently putting up warrant that type of salary. If he can keep this up, Wiggins has a chance to shut all of his critics up and, more importantly, lead the Timberwolves to the playoffs with the help of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns.
After signing Towns to a five-year, $190 million extension in 2018, the Timberwolves have $337 million committed to KAT and Wiggins. There was a negative narrative surrounding Wiggins and Towns through the Butler trade drama, even though it’s most likely those rumors came from Butler’s camp. Wiggins’ work ethic and passion for the game were questioned, while Towns was accused of being more concerned about his stats instead of winning games.
There’s no more Butler drama in Minnesota and Wiggins and Towns are just playing the game of basketball freely with the undying support of Saunders. The real question now is if Wiggins can keep up this play for the entire season. After averaging 23.6 points per game during the 2016-17 season, Wiggins’ scoring output dropped to 17.7 in 2017-18 with the addition of Butler. Right now, the Timberwolves don’t have another go-to scorer from the wing, so Wiggins’ usage rate is going to stay high for the whole season and he won’t have to look over his shoulder.
If you’re a basketball fan, you’re happy to see Wiggins playing well. He’s a good kid and an athletic specimen who can jump out the gym, get to the rim at will and finish in heavy traffic. Timberwolves fans won’t be booing Andrew Wiggins anymore at home, especially if he keeps this level of play up and leads Minnesota back to the postseason.