By Rustin Dodd
Andrew Wiggins had 22 points and eight rebounds in Kansas’ 94-83 victory over Duke last week in the Champions Classic. It was a solid line, especially considering Wiggins had just six points while battling foul trouble in the first half.
But after two games — yeah , just two games— there are a couple of trends emerging that could be considered positive signs for Wiggins and Kansas.
1. Wiggins is taking 32 percent of KU’s shots while he’s been on the floor, according to KenPom.com. For comparison: That’s more than Kentucky freshman Julius Randle (25.2 percent), and a little less than Duke freshman Jabari Parker (36.4). And it’s also considerably more than former KU guard Ben McLemore (24.7 percent), who averaged 15.9 points per last season — but often struggled with his assertiveness.
If there were similar concerns about Wiggins — concerns that he might disappear on offense for stretches — the first two games have been promising. He floated a little bit during the first half of KU’s opener against Louisiana Monroe, and he’s battled foul trouble. But for the most part, he’s looked to attack when he’s been on the floor.
2. Wiggins is shooting 63 percent (12 of 19) on two-point field goals, and 41.7 percent of his shots have come at the rim, according to HoopMath.com. Small sample size, of course, but Wiggins has been better at getting shots at the rim than all of Kansas’ other wings and forwards. (Side note: Freshman point guard Frank Mason has taken 62.5 percent of his shots at the rim; if he can continue to get into the paint, he’s going to be a serious offensive weapon under the new rules.)
It’s too early to know how it will translate at the next level, but Wiggins’ combination of length, athleticism and quickness can make him nearly unguardable in the post — even against some bigger power forwards. If Wiggins can make enough three-pointers to keep defenders honest, well … his efficiency numbers could begin to look pretty scary.
3. Again, small-sample-size alert. But here’s one more positive trend: A 6-foot-8 wing, Wiggins is one of the biggest perimeter players in the country. But in two games, he hasn’t shown much tendency to turn it over. He has three turnovers in 59 minutes of court time — although he also has just two assists. For a player who will likely have the ball as much as Wiggins will this season, that’s a pretty good start.