Friday, March 31, 2017

Is Andrew Wiggins a Good Player? Future Superstar? Bust?

I have previously opined upon Andrew Wiggins and determined that he is an "inefficient scorer" type of player who is deficient in rebounding, assists and defense.  So, he is basically a bad Dale Ellis or a bad 32 year old Carmelo Anthony.  Glen Rice's name came up.

For some reason, there is suddenly a very spirited debate on Twitter that consists of two primary groups:

-- Andrew Wiggins is a complete bust
-- Andrew Wiggins is a future superstar and the second coming of Kobe Bryant.

If you do not agree with either camp, you are immediately lumped into the other camp.  You say, "Hey, look, Wiggy is no Kobe...never will be..."  Reply, OH SURE!  YOU CLAIM HE IS A BUST!  20 points a game scorer, HORRIBLE BUST!

You say, "I haven't completely given up on Wiggy as a player.  He is young...."  Reply, OH SURE!!  CAN WE WAIVE THE WAITING PERIOD AND ELECT HIM TO THE HALL OF FAME TODAY!?!?  NOT QUICK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!?

The primary problem with evaluating Andrew Wiggins is he just turned 22 and he is really streaky, so he has some games where he looks great and some games where as a Wolves fan if you see one more horrid "possession of Wiggy" you'd like to take a gun and shoot yourself.

His game, overall, is remarkably inefficient.  His defense, rebounding and assist stats are terrible, and he has never been on a winning team.  He has poor WS, WS/48 and VORP stats.  On the other hand, he has impressive scoring stats and he is an OK shooter who gets to the line a fair amount.

So, the issue really comes down to -- is he "good" and if so, how "good"?  Well, if you look for guys who are high Usage (25.9% or higher) and low WS/48 players (.100 or lower) and not super great defenders (104 or higher DRtg), you get the following list of guys who have played at least 8,500 minutes in the NBA:

Jerry Stackhouse
Pete Maravich
Glenn Robinson
Antoine Walker
Ray Williams
Ben Gordon
(The Less Good) Cliff Robinson
JR Rider
Darrell Griffith
Super John Williamson
Michael Beasley
"San" Quintin Dailey  and
Andrew Wiggins

Now, Wiggy is at the bottom of the list because he has the fewest WS of anyone on the list.  It should be noted, however, that someone like Pete Maravich has roughly double the WS/48 that Wiggy has. So Wiggy ain't Pete Maravich yet, or, for that matter, Jerry Stackhouse.

But the real question to be asked here is -- are these guys "good"?  Are they, or were they, "good" NBA players.  It all depends upon what you want, correct?   Every guy on the list was a pretty effective scorer.  There are some all-star appearances on the list.  Maravich is a Hall of Famer and ESPN has him as a top 100 NBA player.  So what you really need to evaluate is 1) whether you consider these guys to be "good" and 2) whether if Wiggins ends his career equal to these guys, would you be happy with that?

I'd say that if Wiggy ended up as good as Stack or Maravich or Big Dog or Antoine Walker or Ray Williams that most people would consider that as "good" and be fairly happy. 

Ben Gordon and Darrell Griffith - probably not as happy

Robinson and Super John -- unhappy

Rider, Beasley, Dailey -- very unhappy.

But let's put to bed the fiction that there is any realistic chance that Wiggy will ever be Kobe or Durant.  When Kobe was 21 he had a PER of 22 and accounted for almost 11 Win Shares, got 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 steals + blocks a game.  His Defensive Rating was 98 (Wiggy is 114). 

Durant at age 21 has a 26 PER and put up 16 WS.  He would have won the MVP had LeBron not been having an insanely great season (18.5 WS, .299 WS/48).

So, is Andrew Wiggins an absolute Kwame-Brown-esque bust?  No.  Has he demonstrated ANYTHING close to being or becoming a Kobe or a Durant (two of my top 25 players of all-time)?  Certainly not.    Will Wiggy ever approach these players' career.  I say no, and I say no confidently.  That will never happen.  Could he become a Glen Rice or a Glenn Robinson or maybe a poor man's Carmelo Anthony or DeMar DeRozan? Certainly.  So you need to ask yourself - is that "good"?  Would you consider Wiggy to be "good" if he reached that level of play? 

I cannot make that judgment for you -- but that is where the truth lies; Wiggy could be kinda disappointing, or he could be a couple time all-star.  It is up to him.  Whether you consider that "good" or not, is an entirely subjective call.

And your response to this item should start with "OH SURE!"

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