What to make of Andrew Wiggins under Gersson Rosas

Can Rosas get Wiggins in the right direction?
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Andrew Wiggins

With the Wolves hiring Gersson Rosas as president of basketball operations, Rosas will be tasked with turning around an organization that's been behind the times.

In a day and age where 3-pointers reign supreme, the Wolves averaged just 28 attempts from deep last season. Only the Spurs, Pacers, Clippers and Bulls attempted fewer. Meanwhile, Rosas comes from a Rockets organization that attempted the most 3-pointers in the league at 45 per game this season. The next closest team was the Milwaukee Bucks at 38.

Houston has gunners up and down the roster, including James Harden, Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, but Rosas is working with a roster in Minnesota that has nothing of the sort outside of Karl-Anthony Towns, who shot 40% from 3 this past season.

But what if Rosas can turn Andrew Wiggins into a competent 3-point shooter?

Wiggins, for whatever reasons, thought he was Kevin Garnett circa 2003 last season with a bunch of mid-range jump shots. According to Dane Moore of Zone Coverage, Wiggins attempted 180 shots from 15-19 feet last season, where the Houston Rockets, as a team, attempted just 164 shots from the same range.

Let that sink in for a minute. Wiggins took more shots from that range than an entire team. 

Speaking of Garnett, the Big Ticket interviewed both Towns and Wiggins in February and asked when is Wiggins going to elevate his game to be a perennial All-Star like Towns has become.

“Next year’s the motivation for it,” said Wiggins, who then taps Towns on the leg and says “I’m going to be with him next year.”

The wishful thinking is one thing but Wiggins has to recognize that he’ll have to drastically change his game to get on the same level as Towns.

During his time in Houston, Rosas was part of a forward-thinking, analytics-based front office. Once Rosas assembles a staff, perhaps similar to what he worked with in Houston, it's a good bet that instruction to stop Wiggins from taking low-percentage jumpers will finally become law at Target Center. 

Last season, Wiggins had a career-worst .493 true shooting percentage, which is broken down by 2-point attempts, 3-point attempts and free throws. 

  • .412 FG percentage 
  • .339 3P percentage 
  • .699 FT percentage

In March, Deadspin profiled Wiggins' 2018-19 campaign as one of the most inefficient seasons of all time for players with at least 1,200 shot attempts and 350 3-point attempts, although Wiggins finished two 3s shy of 350.

The end result of Wiggins' .493 true shooting percentage would rank seventh-worst in NBA history on that list. Not exactly the stuff of No. 1 overall picks. 

However, there were areas on the court that Wiggins was actually an efficient shooter. For example, he hit 59% (23/39) of his left-corner 3s, well above the league average of 38.6%. 

Thirty-nine attempts over the course of a full season is kind of pathetic, but it shows he can hit that shot when given the opportunity. P.J. Tucker in Houston had a similar role, although he didn't waste any time with mid-range jumpers, and he also brings it on the defensive end of the floor.

Here's Wiggins' shot map from last season.

shotchart

Will Rosas attempt to get rid of Wiggins?

Based on his comments after his introductory press conference, probably not. 

"Andrew is a very talented individual. I was fortunate to have seen him as a young player at the Hoop Summit and I know what his potential is," Rosas said, via Dane Moore. "I know what his impact could be. I'm going to invest every resource I can to help Andrew be successful. Because the reality is that a player at that level, with that talent, in the right system, playing the right way is something that's very important."

Remember, Wiggins is entering year two of his max contract that will pay him $27 million next season. His contract would be nearly impossible to trade, so expecting a lineup without Wiggins is highly unlikely. 

Wiggins may have reached rock-bottom, so Rosas and whoever he hires as head coach will have their work cut out for them to turn him into the player, and the 3-point threat, that Rosas believes he can be. 

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