Even though Andrew Wiggins was the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and had more hype than almost any prospect over the past five years, there were serious concerns about how he’d fare during his rookie season. Would he be too passive (the most common knock on Wiggins throughout his own year at Kansas)? Would he defer to other teammates? How would he score, when his jump shot was still in development and his handles were a little shaky? Whether these concerns were ever legitimate, it doesn’t matter, because Wiggins rendered them obsolete almost immediately.
While he was a little passive early on (what rookie wouldn’t be in his first couple of months in the NBA), he quickly grew more assertive, more comfortable in his role and in his own skin as the season progressed. From Dec. 23 until the end of the season, Wiggins failed to score in double figures just twice. It usually takes most young players a few years to develop a go-to scoring move. Wiggins had one right out of the gate, a lethal spin move that utilizes his immense length and athleticism to get him to the rim improbably fast. When that wouldn’t work, or when he didn’t have the opportunity to use it, Wiggins simply rose above the competition, then came down hard. If there were any lingering concerns about Wiggins not being aggressive enough, his dunks on Rudy Gobert and Omer Asik quickly eradicated them.
For all of the excitement surrounding Anthony Davis – and it is absolutely justified – we should be just as excited for Wiggins’ future. He’s a more traditional talent than Davis (meaning, we’ve seen his type of wing before), but that doesn’t lessen his star potential. There is still so much room for him to grow. His jump shot is going to get better, his handles will improve and he’ll learn the intricacies of rotations in a contemporary NBA defense. The sky is the limit for him, but given how quickly he exceeded expectations in his rookie year, he might just reach the sky and decide to keep on going.