Dominic Davis | Staff Writer
There is a new guy in town and he is ready to do big things. In his rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins has given fans something to look forward to. He is very exciting to watch and shows signs of becoming the next big star in the National Basketball Association.
After just one season of playing college basketball for the University of Kansas, Wiggins was selected as the number one overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer. Wiggins was not in Cleveland for long. A three-team trade occurred that involved the Timberwolves sending Kevin Love, their franchise player at the time, to the Cavaliers. They received Wiggins and two other players from the Cleveland and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Century students Yusuf Derie and Justin Farrell believe the trade was a good deal for the Timberwolves. According to Derie, a long-time fan of the NBA, “The trade was a good deal for the future.”
Farrell, who has been a Timberwolves fan his entire life, states that the trade was good, “Because Kevin Love was going to leave the year after,” so the Timberwolves needed to make a trade before they lost him for nothing in Free Agency.
Of the three players the Timberwolves acquired in the trade, Wiggins had the most hype. He is now starting to demonstrate his skill on the court beyond just his athleticism. His recent form has been great, including a career high of 33 points against the Cavaliers, the team that traded him.
Scoring 15.4 points per game, Wiggins is the leading scorer among rookies. He makes about 43 percent of his shots. Points per game is the main category that separates him from the rest of the rookies.
He is also leading the rookie class in minutes per game (34.4) and free throws attempted per game (4.5). These numbers mean he is an important part of the Timberwolves rotation and he is not afraid of the free throw line. Playing a significant amount of minutes is good for him to gain experience and develop as a player.
Wiggins was named Rookie of the Month in the Western Conference for January. By winning the award in November, December and January he has been named Rookie of the Month three months in a row, every month of the season.
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge is a game during NBA All-Star Weekend, which showcases the best young players in the NBA. This year the teams were the United States and World Team.
Born in Canada, Wiggins was selected to play for the World Team. He headlines the roster teaming up with Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Nikola Mirotic (Bulls), Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves), and more. Wiggins was selected as the games MVP. He scored 22 points to lead his team to victory.
Though the season is a little more than half complete, Wiggins seems to be the clear favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award. Derie and Farrell both predict he will win the award. Derie claims that he will win the award, “Because his best competition (Jabari Parker) is out with an injury.”
Farrell thinks there are no other rookies playing better than Wiggins this season. Some of the biggest names from the draft are out due to injuries including Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Julius Randle. These players were not able to prove they could be as good for their teams as Wiggins is for the Timberwolves.
Can the Timberwolves build a team around Wiggins? Derie believes they can. He explains that it will take a long time before they will have a good team built around Wiggins. Derie states they need players that, “Know the game well.” The Timberwolves need players that make smart plays and do not worry about their numbers.
Farrell suggests that the Timberwolves need a good shooting guard. He emphasizes the need for outside shooting to prevent double teams on Wiggins. “Good ball handlers are also a necessity to get him open,” Farrell points out.
Farrell claims, “We need a franchise player to start a team around.” If all goes well in Minnesota, Wiggins will be a great player in a few years and help the Timberwolves make the playoffs, a feat the team has not accomplished since 2004. Wiggins could be the way out of countless losing seasons for the Timberwolves.