Simplicity says Minnesota Timberwolves’ small forward Andrew Wiggins is a bust. However, complexity offers the viewpoint of youth being the reason for the former first overall pick’s failure to ascend to dominance. Somewhere between the defense for and criticism of the Wolves’ forward lies the most gargantuan of conundrums.
After three seasons in the NBA no one knows who or what Wiggins is.
What we have witnessed thus far is a player who drops 20-points a night, who has started 80 plus games for three straight seasons and who has managed to improve offensively in each of his professional years. Such production makes it hard to utter the word “bust” when discussing Wiggins.
But then there is the next page, a page that reads zero playoff and All-Star games appearances. If one were to scroll down further they would see defensive struggles and a pedestrian 45 percent shooting. Nevertheless, through all the uncertainty surrounding what the 2014 first overall pick is, one thing remains certain the 2017 – 2018 season will be career defining for the young wolf.
At season’s end there will be no ambiguity as to what or who the talented Mr. Wiggins is.
To be blunt another season of sporadic defensive play, coinciding with another missed All-Star game, ending with another missed post-season appearance and the jig is up. The voices requesting patience and lowered expectations will fall on deaf ears. The man who many thought would rest atop the league with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry would be regarded as just another player. In the professional sports world top picks can go from “young hopefuls” to “never was” extremely quick, and Wiggins would be no exception.
The basketball world can be inexplicably kind at times, especially to ballers voided of lofty expectations. It can be a place where the likes of Rafer Alston, Darrell Armstrong and Reggie Evans can squeeze out 10 plus seasons and become multimillionaires, all while living like Kings. This is NOT the case for players like Andrew Wiggins. When a talent enters the league with expectations of championship grandeur the Association offers a much different type of experience.
Those players who can only be defended with numerical justification, tend to bounce from team-to-team with much less anonymity. Those players become adjectives for future players with equally as much promise entering the league. Phrases such as “do not become the next Anthony Bennett or Shawn Bradley” become commonplace.
To date the athletic forward has alluded massive scorn and scrutiny, due to his penchant for the spectacular play and bucket getting consistency. It seems that as long as the Timberwolves forward scores in droves he will be absolved of the disdain that follows habitual non-playoff participators. Therefore scoring 20 or more points in 140 out of 256 games has afforded the former Kansas JayHawk time, until now.
When an organization trades for a veteran All-Star in the prime of their career it is normally because that team and owner are ready to compete. Yet, when that veteran plays the very same position and the very same style as the anointed franchise player the message becomes murky.
The arrival of Chicago Bulls small forward and three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler in conjunction with a shiny new contract have put the franchise forward on notice. The off-season indirectly informed the slender scorer that the “in time they will be great” line of thinking no longer applies. Furthermore, 12 straight losing season have removed hope, excuses and pardons. Minnesota’s moves have provided precise clarity for their expectations and that achievement at this point must include team playoff evaluation.
The current Timberwolves record of 5 – 3 whispers playoff bound, but does not scream much else. But if Minny should miss the postseason yet again there is little argument that can be made regarding Andrew’s impact on the Wolves. Four seasons, a roster featuring Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler should yield postseason appearances.
Fans and pundits allow expectations to cloud reality when discussing players. If you believe a player will be special or impactful than you are more than willing to wait for that to transpire. Yet, if you believed the former JayHawk would be a scorer and nothing more chances are you feel vindicated. The truth is after four years the confirmation as to which opinion is fact and which opinion is fiction has yet to be confirmed, and more than the on the court results that is the issue.