Andrew Wiggins’ new approach to playing for the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves? Ultra-aggression. Playing with a sense of urgency offensively that he normally lacks, the 19 year-old rookie scored a career-high 29 points in his team’s hard-fought loss to the Sacramento Kings last night.
Man. Once Wiggins’ strength, ballhandling, and general comfort come around, he’s going to be among the most effective two-way players in basketball.
The biggest criticism facing the Canadian prodigy over the past year has been a tendency to “float” offensively. While Wiggins is always engaged and ready for challenges on defense, his natural inclination on the other end is letting shot opportunities find him as opposed to creating them. But his hand was forced last night due to the absence of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, and Thaddeus Young, and Wiggins came through – in a big-time way.
The shooting numbers aren’t impressive; he made just 9-of-22 shots en route to 29 points. What’s so encouraging about his performance nonetheless was an unrelenting vigor to score – no matter how many shots he’d missed previously – that’s been absent from Wiggins’ game since he entered the national spotlight at the University of Kansas in 2013-2014.
The athleticism, defense, work ethic, and attitude have always been there. If Wiggins is already growing increasingly comfortable playing the role of alpha dog, it seems he’ll live up to his long-held billing of potential superstar sooner rather than later.
(Video via Piotr Zarychta)
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