The NBA season is finally here! Although we know the main attractions (LeBron, The Brow, KD, etc.) will remain the same, every basketball season introduces us to some new breakout stars. “Poised to Breakout” will be a series that examines what players appear to have the opportunity and potential to take the biggest jump from last season to this season.
Andrew Wiggins — Small Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves
This one may seem a bit obvious, but I really believe Wiggins — and the T-Wolves for that matter — are going to have a special season.
The No. 1 overall pick had a spectacular rookie season, averaging 16.9 points, 2.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds, but continuously improved as the season went on. It took Wiggins a few months to catch on to the ways of the NBA, but once he did, he was scary good.
After scoring in single-digits in almost half of his first 26 career games, Wiggins finished the season on a tear — scoring double-digits in 54 of his final 56 games. Conveniently enough, that streak began in Cleveland with an impressive 27 points on 9-for-16 shooting against the team that selected him with the top pick, only to then trade him away.
During his ROY campaign, Wiggins’ minutes and points were on the rise each month of the season, aside from a slight drop in points in February (he is human after all). It culminated in April with averages of 41.1 minutes, 23.3 points, 6.0 boards, 4.0 assists, a block and a steal on the month. THAT’S the type of player he can be while only scratching the surface of his talents.
Minnesota is doing a great job building young talent around Wiggins (Towns/LaVine) and providing mentorship (Garnett), but when it comes to play on the court, the former Jayhawk is going to be his team’s leader this season.
The question is, how big of a jump can Wiggins realistically take?
Maybe not one like his trampoline-like vertical leap, but Wiggins has a ton of room to grow. He should be able to use his athleticism to become a better rebounder, and as a scorer, has been working relentlessly on improving his 3-point shot all offseason. The major key to Wiggins’ late success, though, has been his ability to get to the free throw line — which comes from his ability to attack the basket, and is expected to continue.
The sky is the limit for Andrew Wiggins — when it comes throwing down a windmill jam, and becoming an NBA superstar. This kid is going to be a force in the league a lot faster than any of us believed less than just a year ago.
2015-16 Projection: 42.0 MPG, 24.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.6 BPG, 1.2 SPGFind me on Twitter @julianedlow
More players “Poised to Breakout” in ’15-16:Otto Porter — Small Forward, Washington Wizards