Andrew Wiggins: Sporadic Superstar

Kansas’s much-hyped freshman Andrew Wiggins had a very good, albeit inconsistent, freshman season. I watched Kansas frequently throughout the year, yet I feel as if I know even less about Wiggins now than I did before the season began. With every game, he seemed to teeter on the edge between limber and weak, raw and awkward, explosive and out-of-control. In his 41-point outburst against West Virginia, Wiggins looked every bit as advertised, wreaking havoc all over the court and throwing down slams reminiscent of a young Dominique Wilkins.

(Does he not have a decidedly 1980s dunking style? I think it’s a Canadian thing.)

In other games, most notably his 4-point bed-wetter against Stanford, he looked tentative and unskilled, leaving many to wonder if he was really worthy of “consensus top pick” status.  Wiggins may have failed to live up to some of the lofty expectations, but he has a lethal combination of length, lateral quickness, and explosiveness that is incredibly intriguing for a team looking for their own Paul George or LeBron James. With that said, he does not yet possess the skill-level or feel for the game necessary to maximize his elite physical tools. Here’s a look at how the Canadian phenom measures up against other five-star freshman swings in recent history.

Andrew Wiggins .493 .341 7.1 1.9 1.4 1.2 2.8 20.8
Harrison Barnes .470 .344 7.9 2.0 1.0 0.6 2.6 21.3
Luol Deng .515 .360 8.9 2.4 1.7 1.4 19.4
Kevin Durant .505 .404 12.4 1.5 2.1 2.1 28.8
Rudy Gay .460 .467 7.5 2.2 1.1 2.6 16.4
Marvin Williams .522 .432 11.8 1.3 2.0 0.9 20.4

Wiggins is no KD, but he does compare very closely to Luol Deng, a two-time NBA all-star. They are  quite similar statistically and physically, the main difference being that Deng never had Wiggins’s off-the-charts athletic ability. It stands to reason that Wiggins has the potential to be an order of magnitude better than Deng, but I am far from sold on him becoming a Tracy McGrady or Durant-level superstar at the next level.

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