The season has started. The Wolves are 2-1. There is a great buzz around the team thus far. Karl-Anthony Towns has had a historical start to the season for a rookie/ teenager. Ricky Rubio looks to have found his shot and if he can stay healthy, has shown that he is an integral part of the puzzle. Kevin Martin is contributing well off the bench and Bjelica looks to have the trust of the coaching staff getting late minutes. While everyone talks about wanting to see LaVine at shooting guard and more aggressiveness from Shabazz, they have let the poor performance of Andrew Wiggins slide.
The excuses are that we are three games into the season. While Andrew Wiggins has been slowed by back spasms, it doesn’t defeat the importance of his development for this team’s success. If KAT continues to play the way he has and doesn’t improve a lick, he is more than enough to be a franchise cornerstone. Every good team needs a defensive anchor in the middle to ensure good team defense. If they can score and rebound too, then they are a franchise cornerstone. From everything we have seen from Towns in the first few months of his involvement with the Timberwolves, he is nothing to worry about. His desire, passion, basketball IQ, and unique skill set is unlike many other young players that have entered the league in recent years.
The pivotal talent of whether the Wolves just become a fringe playoff team or a dynasty is Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves will need to see development out of him. The team needs to rely on him to score in a multitude of ways as well as be a defensive stopper on the other end of the ball. Teams will need to fear his shot as well as his post game. Star players should be afraid to play against him. There is an incredible amount of pressure for Wiggins to perform and develop, but its for good reason.
Scoring is the easiest thing to find in the NBA. If it wasn’t, Rashad McCants would be a starter somewhere today. But there is a difference between a scorer and a dominant player. Wiggins has all the raw tools to be a dominant player. He has a fluid jump shot. He is crazy athletic. His post game is solid. But right now, it doesn’t seem to be happening consistently. Wiggins needs to get to the line like a Kevin Martin. He should want to dunk on people. He should want to get to the line. He should be hitting wide open threes and uncontested mid-range shots.
Through three games, Wiggins doesn’t look like himself. Maybe its the passing of Flip. Maybe its his back. But he looks like he is getting in the post and doesn’t want to be there. C.J. McCollum wouldn’t let him establish position or even shoot over him. While it isn’t time to panic, it is time to acknowledge that unless Wiggins develops into the two-way threat he is drawn up to be, the Timberwolves aren’t that scary of a team in five years. Yeah Towns should be an All-Star and Rubio has played phenomenal, but Wiggins is the differentiating factor. Wolves fans need to accept this.
Whether it be a lack of killer instinct or a lack of confidence, the future of this franchise is in his hands. It probably doesn’t help having two veterans in the starting lineup that attract no defensive attention, but it should mean more shots. Sam Mitchell is experimenting with Wiggins at shooting guard, which I believe would be a better experiment with Shabazz Muhammed rather than Tayshaun Prince in the starting lineup. The hope is, Andrew Wiggins is learning and can return to his rookie year form and play like he is playing the Cleveland Cavaliers every night.
Game 4 tonight vs the Miami Heat as they face the first team with decent amounts of talent. Predicting a loss. Will be excited to see Dragic vs Rubio and Whiteside vs Towns. Wade vs Wiggins will also be intriguing.