NBA News

NBA Awards: 2015 Rookie Of The Year

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Tamberlyn Richardson: It’s simple, Andrew Wiggins is going to be a super star. I believe so strongly in this fact I’ve got a side bet running with my fellow staffer Trey, regarding where he’ll be in three years. I say he’ll be in the top ten MVP discussion in 3 years and also in the mix for best 2-way player. Full disclosure: I’m CANADIAN and from his home town Toronto, so I have had the benefit of following his growth.

I honestly think he is of the same ilk as Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, but Wiggins who only turned 20  this past February is already leaps and bounds ahead of where those players were offensively as rookies. Not to mention he’s already guarding the best player for the Wolves’ opponent nightly. Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and other super stars have all raved about his ability and humility and that highlights how special this kid is.

Generally, other super stars aren’t quick to praise the youngsters unsolicited. I mean, think about it Kobe whispered to him: “You’re next” on the night he passed Michael Jordan’s all time points total, to me that spoke volumes on Wiggins’ character.

I remember a while back when a certain Sports Illustrated reporter said he was all hype and no substance, the next day Wiggins went out and scored 54 points and didn’t even play the entire game. Don’t mistake his quiet demeanor as lack of interest or desire, he’s simply a quiet leader. The other thing that stands out about Wiggins more than most is he doesn’t force his game, he lets it come to him and he is a great team player.

As bad as the Timberwolves are this season I think I’ve watched them on NBA League Pass probably as much as I have Houston, Golden State, Portland, and Oklahoma City. If you want a real treat go back to the game Cleveland played in Minnesota to see the dual LeBron James had with Wiggins and note the difference in their bodies. It’s unfathomable to believe Wiggins held his own for most of the night, never backing away defensively and constantly bringing it offensively (in fact he gave James fits a couple of times).

Oh, and Trey…. here’s a little food for thought:

Let’s compare Wiggins Rookie stats to those of the two players he should aspire to emulate: Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. I’ve noted their rookie seasons and this season.

[table id=99 /]

Interestingly, the numbers for Wiggins Rookie season are much better than either of Leonard or Butler’s rookie season. You might say well he plays more, but neither of the 4-year players had to guard the star in their rookie season or produce with the best defender covering them. Then factor in Wiggins Rookie Campaign numbers aren’t that far removed from the 4th seasons of both Leonard and Butler.

I’ll leave you with this: many have often mistook Wiggins quiet demeanor or habit of resting his hands on his hips as nonchalance but the reality is he is very driven. I can pretty much guarantee he’ll be one of those players who gets better every season based on what I’ve seen from the youngster as he moved from Prep School, to Kansas and then into the NBA. When he was at Kansas, part of the knock on him was his 3-Point shooting. As you can see above he’s already shooting it at a better clip than what was projected for him coming into the league. He’ll obviously look to improve over the summer, but I believe he has added inspiration to make a giant leap forward next season due to extenuating circumstances.

Wiggins wants to play in the All Star game badly and it may never return to Toronto over the span of his career. All-Star 2016 may be the only time the Canadian ever gets the chance to play in the big game in front of his home town fans. For this reason I suspect he’ll do everything in his power to raise his level of play at an accelerated clip so he gives Canadians a reason to vote him into the Sunday prime time game. I certainly wouldn’t bet against it happening because whenever anybody underestimates Andrew Wiggins they end up paying dearly for it.

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