The Sports Unbiased NBA round table join forces once again to discuss the young and talented superstar in the making Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Has he solidified his position as the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year or does he still have some convincing to do? Check out our latest discussion.
Is Andrew Wiggins the Clear-Cut 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year?
Steve Turner: Andrew Wiggins is the clear-cut Rookie of the Year so far this season. Although the Timberwolves have the worst record in the West at 13-47, Wiggins’ stats are pretty good. He’s averaging 15.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. If Jabari Parker didn’t get injured with a torn ACL in his left knee, he would be giving Wiggins a lot of competition. Also, the Lakers rookie Julius Randle was injured early in the season with a broken leg and won’t return at all this season. The only rookies really standing in Wiggins way is Nerlens Noel and Marcus Smart. Noel is averaging 8.8 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game and two blocks per game, while Smart is averaging 7.4 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game. Andrew Wiggins stats tower over these guys, Wiggins should clearly win Rookie of the Year.
Jeb Taylor: Andrew Wiggins has had the standout year that the whole league expected. Since high school, Wiggins has displayed freakish athleticism to go with an elite skill set. Despite this, I believe Nerlens Noel should have his name seriously considered for rookie of the year. Noel is an elite defender in just his first year of action- he leads the league amongst rookies in both steals and blocks. He’s also an elite dimer for his position- only three other rookie centers have averaged 1.7 assists a game as Noel is. Over the last 10 games, Noel’s averaged 3.1 blocks and 2.1 assists per game, and if he can continue at that pace for the remainder of the season, his averages should increase to 2.3 blocks and 1.8 assists per game. Only one rookie has hit those marks in their rookie season– Tim Duncan in 1997-98. It is incumbent to place Nerlens (and his top-notch flat top) into the ROY conversation with Wiggins.
Sauping R. Arguello: Absolutely. Andrew Wiggins has shown he has All-Star caliber potential. The first overall pick of the 2014 Draft is having a breakthrough second half of the season as he is leading all rookies in scoring (15.9 ppg) also averaging 4.3 rebounds and close to two assists per contest. Wiggins showed he can live up to the hype by not shying away to the challenge and going toe-to-toe with the player he could’ve been starring with in Cleveland (LeBron James). Although falling short of the win, he scored a season-high 33 points. He then went on to win the Rising Stars MVP award scoring 22 points (shooting 8-11 from the field) leading the World Team to victory over Team USA.
I only see continued development from from such a young talent like Wiggins. His size and freakish athleticism will only be enhanced once his skills and fundamentals keep improving. He will also have proper guidance from a future Hall of Famer in Kevin Garnett. Garnett will mentor the young phenom and pass down all the right habits to pick up in order to have a long illustrious career in Minnesota. The only other Rookie I felt had a chance to compete with Wiggins for the ROTY was Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks. Parker has been taken out of consideration once he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Bobby Bourhis: Andrew Wiggins got off to a somewhat shaky start to his NBA career, but has really come on strong in the second half of the season. With Jabari Parker going down for the season, it became clear that the Rookie of the Year award was Andrew Wiggins’ for the taking.
Recently, Nikola Mirotic has been plugging all of the holes for the injury-depleted Chicago Bulls. In his last two games he is averaging 26 ppg and 8.5 rpg (according to ESPN). In the absence of Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls may rely heavily on Mirotic in the last six weeks of the season. Therefore, Mirotic will have the opportunity to put up some impressive numbers down the stretch—but it will not be enough to catch fellow rookie Andrew Wiggins. Not only is Wiggins the clear cut choice for Rookie of the Year, but he also has the brightest future of this rookie class. Bringing Kevin Garnett in as a mentor was a brilliant move that could have a substantial impact on the mentality, work ethic, and approach that the 20 year old rookie will have towards the game.
Keith Rivas: If you were to ask me which rookie standout would be the rookie of the 2014-15 season, there would be no other response than Andrew Wiggins.
Originally picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers and then dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wiggins has been able to work the best with what he’s been given and is in a position to help take the Timberwolves far — next season. He’s taken this year to really showcase his ability to win on an individual level. And now with Kevin Garnett back in the mix, Wiggins is guaranteed a mentor between his rookie and sophomore seasons.
This can only end for the better.
Jr. Williams: A phenomenal talent with a bright future, Wiggins answered all the hype by being one of the most efficient rookies among the 2014 draft class. Sauping R. Arguello hit the nail on the head — Wiggins is in excellent company with Kevin Garnett as a mentor, but lets just hope the T-Wolves management can surround their young star with quality players, otherwise we could witness another top-tier franchise player take his talents to another team. From a growth standpoint, Wiggins has a lot to learn, especially when it comes to passing the ball, as a measly 1.9 assists per game is unacceptable for a player poised to be the face of the franchise . Despite comparisons to LeBron James, Wiggins isn’t as well rounded and will require some hard work and dedication before he becomes a bonafied superstar in the NBA. In the end, he’s the clear cut 2015 rookie of the year, only Nikola Mirotic comes close to matching his quality numbers.