Andrew Wiggins is not an alpha

Andrew Wiggins is discontent.

The former No. 1 overall pick is reportedly unhappy playing third fiddle to Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns.

But does he have a right to be upset by thinking the team is holding him back?


Wiggins’ max contract kicks in next season, and while the potential is certainly there for him to be a max-level player, he has yet to show he’s worth that kind of money.

With the Timberwolves’ offseason additions, this season should have been the easiest for Wiggins to thrive with the team.

An offense running primarily through Butler and Towns takes a scoring burden off Wiggins and allows him to draw less defensive attention. This should allow him to prosper as a catch-and-shoot perimeter player. Instead, Wiggins continues to settle for off-the-dribble, contested 20-foot jump shots, leading to him posting the worst player efficiency rating (13), true-shooting percentage (.509) and free throw rate of his career (.242).

On paper, Wiggins is a matchup nightmare. He is every bit of 6 feet 8 inches tall with a 7-foot wingspan, 44-inch vertical, and a spin move and euro step that can make even the most elite defenders look lost.

Yet, rather than making his defenders’ lives a living hell, he makes it far too easy by settling for mid-range jumpers.

There are glimpses of what could be for Wiggins, such as Sunday’s win over the Warriors when he had an efficient 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting with a team-high +21.

The Wiggins that played against Golden State is the Wiggins Minnesota needs. Six of his nine made field goals came from within 10 feet. Aggressive Wiggins is a problem for opponents, as he converts 70.9 percent of his shot attempts within 3 feet.

Although Wiggins has shown flashes of the defensive upside, especially as of late in wins against the Warriors and Wizards, he is lacking defensive consistency.

With his length and athleticism, Wiggins’ ceiling as a defender is that of someone like Paul George or Andre Iguodala. Both George and Iguodala have a 7-foot wingspan like Wiggins, and each have built reputations as being two of the best wing defenders in the NBA.

Wiggins could be Paul George. He has all the tools to be the do-it-all wing player who can lock down the other team’s best player and be a problem for opposing defenses from anywhere on the floor.

If Wiggins has all the tools, why hasn’t he put it together yet?

For starters, he is still just 23 years old. There is plenty of time for him to develop into a two-way superstar under his long-term deal with the T-Wolves.

Though he possesses the skills to become a top-tier NBA player, he does not have the personality.

Wiggins has a nonchalant demeanor to him, he lacks the “it” factor that someone like Butler has. Butler has the mentality to take over a game in crunch time and stop at nothing to see the victory.

Wiggins is unhappy being the third option, but he doesn’t have the mental edge to be the leader of a playoff team. He isn’t an alpha.

The skills are there for Wiggins to be the Wolves’ No. 1, but with his current playstyle he can be more detrimental than beneficial.

Author: thrillswithjmills

Food lover located in Fargo, N.D. Chicken strip aficionado; blogger; aspiring TikTok superstar.

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