Andrew Wiggins entered the league with absurdly high expectations which has subjected to him to a lot of unfair scrutiny. After all, his numbers in his first 5 seasons aren’t that bad, in fact, from 2014-2019 his numbers weren’t much different than Jimmy Butlers or Klay Thompsons, yet he’s received a massive amount of criticism.
Numbers from 2014-2019:
Andrew Wiggins: 19.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg
Jimmy Butler: 21.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.5 bpg
Klay Thompson: 21.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg
When you see those numbers, it really puts things in perspective: Andrew Wiggins hasn’t been that bad in the last five years. So then what’s with the constant hate? Why is Andrew Wiggins on the receiving end of so much negativity?
Well, when the media hypes you up as the next LeBron James in high school and then you get drafted 1st overall by LeBron’s former team, people expect you to play like LeBron and anything less is failure.
Could he shoot better? Yup.
Could he have more rebounds for a 6’8 guy with a 44 inch vertical? Sure.
Could he get more steals and blocks with his athleticism and length? Definitely.
But the amount of hate he has received over the years is 100% unjustified.
Reddit user NitroXYZ did a little math and figured out that the average NBA stat-line in the 2018-2019 season was 10 ppg, 4 rpg, and 2 apg. So when we compare Andrew Wiggins first 5 seasons to the NBA average last year, you see that he’s put up scoring numbers that are way above average, and that his rebound and assist production are right at the average.
As I said, not bad at all!
Now, this year, with Tom Thibodeau and all of his minions out of Minnesota, we are seeing a new Andrew Wiggins; an Andrew Wiggins that is clearly above the average, and well beyond it. His shot selection has improved, and his ball-handling and vision have done a complete 180.
Through the first 10 games of the season he’s averaging 25.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, and one block. It’s safe to say his production has gone up as has his efficiency, and as the season goes on, he looks more and more comfortable.
This impressive stretch has gained the attention of the world outside of the Timberwolves fan base, and led many to say, “It’s about time,” but really, we are seeing a rather normal development.
Just take a look at James Harden’s numbers through the first five seasons of his career:
James Harden’s Numbers 2010-2015:
19.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.4 bpg
Yes, I know, James Harden played under Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s shadows his first three years, but one could argue that Wiggins growth was stunted by Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler, and now we are seeing what Wiggins can do, now that he’s out of their shadow.
Andrew Wiggins has had one of the most scrutinized beginnings in NBA history, receiving endless amounts of criticism from the media and hate on Twitter, and when put in perspective, we see that it really was never justified. Not everyone can be LeBron, some players need time to develop.
We are seeing that development right now, and I believe we will continue to see it, as Andrew leaves the middle of the pack, for the top.