It has become a grand departure from the start of the season. Andrew Wiggins needs to be on the court less for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The season started off grand for Andrew Wiggins. The first game of the year was a loss for the Minnesota Timberwolves against the San Antonio Spurs, but Wiggins looked like a star that deserved the max deal extension that he had just signed. Wiggins kept that play up for a while, but now as we sit towards the end of December that dominant, or as I labeled him earlier this season beast-mode, Wiggins is gone.
Effectively, Wiggins has reverted to his old ways of simply not being that efficient of a player. Wiggins is taking jump shots early in the shot clock that aren’t falling for the former Jayhawk and he’s missing free throws again. That’s not to mention his defense is still lackluster despite him being one of the best athletes every time he steps on to the court.
It is becoming clear that for the first month or so of the season that Jimmy Butler wanted to have everyone involved. Himself, Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns were all going to be equals, share the ball equally and put up about the same average of points. Over the past couple weeks, that has changed. Butler has gone ahead and made himself the leader as has totally taken over ballgames. Towns has followed suit with big performances himself, but it appears Wiggins has been left in the dust.
Take Monday night’s game against the Portland Trailblazers for example: most of the fourth quarter was played with Wiggins on the bench. A lineup of Butler, Towns, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson played most of the final frame. Wiggins was only brought in during the last minutes when the Wolves desperately needed some points and Wiggins happens to be a better shot than Gibson.
Part of the reason Wiggins wasn’t playing is due to the huge night that Crawford had. The alarming part is that it shouldn’t matter. No player with the status of Wiggins should ever be sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter unless it’s a blowout, that player is in serious foul trouble or that player is injured or hurt. But there Wiggins sat with none of those things being applicable to the situation.
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The Wolves need to find more minutes for Crawford and the easy way of finding those minutes is to sit Wiggins on the bench some more. Maybe some time on the bench will jolt Wiggins into at least realizing he should give s better effort on the defensive end at a minimum. Wiggins should still play, this shouldn’t be a banishment like Tom Thibodeau has given Shabazz Muhammad, but he should simply play less. Simply, he’s not as effective as the Wolves need when he’s on the court.
We all know that a dominant Andrew Wiggins is somewhere to be found, because we saw it at the beginning of the season. Hopefully that Wiggins can be found again or it might end up that he has to be found on another team.
The Timberwolves continue their playoff hunt with a game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. It is the first meeting of the season between the division foes.