As expected, the 2014 #1 pick finishes the year on top
Initially, Andrew Wiggins was expected to help the Cleveland Cavaliers become one of the scariest teams in the NBA. Last June, when he was drafted #1 by the Cavs, he joined a squad that included All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and a sufficient cast of role players, all crossing their fingers, hoping LeBron James made the decision he would make just a couple weeks later: leave Miami and return home.
LeBron James, Wiggins–considered to be the next LeBron James–one of the league’s best point guards in Irving, and a coach that had just won the Euroleague Coach of the Year award was, on paper, the Eastern Conferences most dangerous formula. In the letter he penned to Sports Illustrated, LeBron admitted that he didn’t expect to win anything right away, but with that squad, no one was putting an immediate Finals appearance past the Cavaliers.
Then, Andrew Wiggins wasn’t a Cavalier anymore. Nope. The organization believed proven NBA talent Kevin Love gave them a better chance to win right away, and just like that the #1 pick was shipped off to Minnesota, where lottery picks have notoriously gone, and faded to black. Over the past 7 NBA Drafts, the Timberwolves have used lottery picks on guys like Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams, Shabazz Muhammed, Jonny Flynn and Corey Brewer, and only Rubio has had any sort of impact. (Brewer has found success in Houston). So, it’s fitting that despite the fact that Kansas alum Andrew Wiggins wasn’t drafted by the Timberwolves, he started all 82 games for them this year, and will officially be named the 2015 Rookie of the Year tomorrow.
Wiggins had a slow start, but he finished extremely strong towards the end of the season, recording several 30+ point games and broadening palette with improved defense. His final stat line? 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game, 44% from the field, 31% from three. In comparison, Kevin Durant–whom Wiggins has also been compared to–won the 2007 Rookie of the Year award with similar numbers: 20 points per game, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game to go along with percentages of 43% and 29% from the floor and three respectively.