Andrew Wiggins Dominates Voting En Route To Winning 2014-2015 Rookie Of The Year

So much for a close race.

Despite a late-season charge from a first-year class led by Nikola Mirotic and Nerlens Noel, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins received 110 of a possible 130 first-place votes en route to winning 2014-2015 Rookie of the Year.

The number one pick of last June’s draft garnered 604 total voting points, almost lapping the field in the process. The Chicago Bulls’ Mirotic came in second with 334 points and 14 first-place votes, while the Philadelhia 76ers’ Noel finished third with 335 points and three first-place tallies. Elfrid Payton of the Orlando Magic, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, Jusuf Nurkic of  the Denver Nuggets, and Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers were the only other rookies to receive votes. Wiggins was the sole player named on every ballot.

Full voting results for Rookie of the Year can be found here.

The 6’8 wing averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in his long-awaited debut professional campaign. Deemed a superstar in waiting since his early teenage days, Wiggins hardly seemed one through the first few weeks of this season. He struggled to assert himself offensively in the early going, usually deferring to more established teammates and “floating” through games on that end despite his wealth of natural gifts – seemingly confirming widespread concerns gleaned from his easygoing nature.

But that all changed in mid-December. Wiggins enjoyed a coming-out party against the Cleveland Cavaliers – his former team, remember – on December 23rd, using that 27-point performance as a springboard to bigger and better things for the season’s remainder. He averaged 19.2 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting from that eye-opening game onward, firmly establishing himself as one of basketball’s most promising young scorers.

And the lack of aggression that hallmarked Wiggins’ November and early December vanished, too. He got to the line 8.3 times per game over the season’s last six weeks, and became a nightly fixture of league-wide highlight reels. This is the hyper-athletic force who’s the present and future pride of Canada:

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But what separates Wiggins from other rangy sky-walkers isn’t just his developing comfort as an offensive hub, but his immense potential on the other end, too.

Blessed with the tools to become basketball’s premier perimeter stopper, he exhibited them on a mostly inconsistent basis as a rookie. But when he did, holy hell. How many players in the world are capable of a two-way sequence like this against James Harden?

We followed the 20 year-old’s performance with a watchful and discerning eye all season long. And as much as the statistical spike and highlight uptick spell Wiggins’ imminent rise to stardom, neither development properly conveys just how much he grew from late October to mid April.

Considering his rapid progress and obvious room to grow, there exists the possibility that Wiggins could live up to the immense hype that’s followed him for most of a decade. And winning Rookie of the Year is an encouraging, if unsurprising, early step on his path to doing  just that.

Congratulations, Andrew!

[Minnesota Timberwolvescjzerovids]