Friday, February 17, 2017

Andrew Wiggins -- Many Thoughts On How to Improve

With Wiggy's recent scoring and shooting tear, his advanced stats are slowly improving.  His Net Rating is now only -6 (Ortg 108, DRtg 114) and he has (as of today) a VORP of 0; his best ever (versus a replacement player, he is exactly as good - contributes no extra wins and no extra losses).

So, I ask myself, how can Wiggy possibly look so good at times and yet (on an overall season long statistical basis) contribute virtually nothing to his team?  I mean, certainly his scoring should be adding something, and are his other stats where he really struggles (4 rebounds, 2.5 assist per game, terrible defense) really that awful to drag him down so far?

So I looked at players who played at least 1,500 minutes in a season and averaged similar stats to Wiggy -- over 23 points per game and under 4.5 rebounds and under 2.9 assists.

Of note, these sort of seasons appear to be EXTREMELY rare.  If you are a little guy and a scorer, you generally get more than 3 assists a game.  It is hard not to.  Similarly, if you are a big guy and can score 23 ppg, you generally play a lot and can garner either 3 assists or 5 rebounds a game.

Wiggy's inability to contribute either as a rebounder or assist man is almost unprecedented.  If you look at 2016-17, there are only 6 guys total in the league who play much and play as poorly as Wiggy on the defense, rebounding and assist metrics.  None of the 5 competitors plays nearly as much as Wiggy does.  So his poor play on a per minute basis in these areas of the game is unmatched.

So, if you go back and ask yourself what type of player Andrew Wiggins has been this year, your answer will be (going back to list #1)

Dale Ellis
Michael Redd
Glen Rice
Kiki Vandeweghe
Kevin Martin
Ricky Pierce
31 year old George Gervin
Super John Williamson

What do all of these players have in common?  They were all known as "one-dimensional scorers". 

Now, if you would simply say that Wiggy could get to both 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, he could be at the absolute bottom of this much better list of players: roughly equivalent to a 32 year old Carmelo Anthony (Wiggy would also have to drop his DRtg by two points to 112 to reach Carmelo - Carmelo is a BETTER defender!). 

So, Wiggy is (today) a bad 32 year old Carmelo.  If you look at the above link, if Wiggy could double his performance in both rebounding and assists, or, for example, triple his rebounds or assists, he would be amongst the best players in the league!    That, of course, would be tough to do given that Wiggy already plays huge minutes and has shown no signs of significant improvement per year in any of these categories.

Another concern for Wiggins and his supporters is that even if you go back to the "one-dimensional scorers" list and look at the 15 similar seasons, Wiggy is likely to end up 13th or 14th in Win Shares and ranks poorly in every shooting category:

8th in 2-point percentage
10th in field goal percentage
11th in 3 point %
11th in Effective FG %
13th in True shooting % and
15th in free throw %.

So Wiggy right now is a one-dimensional scorer..........and he isn't particularly efficient in that role.

So, baby steps:
1) get your rebounds and assists up to 32 year old Carmelo levels (6.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists)
2) get your defensive rating down to a Carmelo-ian 112.
3) improve your 3 point shooting and FT shooting to more elite scorer levels.

At that point, you would be a good player (top 40 in the league). 

then Wiggy needs to find some way to get to

23-6-5 (Jimmy Butler) or maybe 27-5-4 (DeMar Derozan).

It is hard to imagine that Wiggy will improve so much that he could ever reach the rebounds and assist numbers that The Greek Freak or LeBron have.  And he is never going to have a defensive rating of 102 like Kawhi Leonard (who gets 2.5 steals+blocks to Wiggy's current 1.3).

But what is clear is that right now Wiggy is like a bad version of Kevin Martin, Michael Redd and Dale Ellis.  Start with being a good version of them, work your way up to equaling an old Carmelo, and then, from there, see what your upside really could be.


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