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Andrew Wiggins is Maxing Out

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Andrew Wiggins has signed his five-year, $146.5 million contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves, as reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

After sitting on the offer for over a month, and ditching his agent, Wiggins finally decided to sign on the dotted line and remain with Minnesota.

It was an interesting decision to wait that long to sign, and one that I still don’t fully understand. Wiggins cited not having an agent as a reason for why the process of signing the deal took so long. I’m not sure I buy that one.

This was the maximum amount of money Wiggins was eligible for under the CBA. Had he waited until next offseason, this is still the max per year he’d be able to get. But only Minnesota could offer him five years. And even if he signed an offer sheet with another team, Minnesota could have matched and retained him.

Could he have been seeking a shorter deal? He is now locked up in Minnesota through the 2021-22 season. This deal contains no fifth year player option, which is uncommon these days. Wiggins will be an unrestricted free agent the summer of 2022.

A lot of debate has been taking place over whether or not Wiggins is worth this large of a contract, which will pay him over $33 million in the final year. I absolutely believe he has earned this contract, and let me tell you why…

Wiggins is still just 22 years old. Last season he averaged 23.6 points per game. Honestly, I could leave it at that, and I’m not sure how you argue against this contract. But I’ll go further.

He’s increased his scoring output each of his first three seasons, going from 16 to 20 to 23. The consistent skill development he’s shown should be a strong indicator of what is yet to come. Last season, Wiggins shot a career high 35.6% from deep. Every year, he’s attempted more field goals and three pointers per game.

Comparing Wiggins against another 2014 lottery pick who also just signed a max extension, one stat sticks out more than any other. Joel Embiid has played in just 31 games in three years. Wiggins has only missed ONE game in three years. Last season, he led the entire league in minutes played with 3,048. His teammate Karl-Anthony Towns was the only other player over 3,000.

Wiggins entered the league with a ton of hype, and looked the part from the very start. His rookie numbers won’t blow anyone away, but he was a lone bright spot on a dismal roster. Low field goal and three point percentages are common for first year players. It’s only troubling if they don’t improve. And Wiggins has shown the ability to improve.

As he has grown as a player, he’s become better acclimated to NBA offensive and defensive strategies. Being coached by Tom Thibodeau helps. Coach Thibs helped mold Jimmy Butler into one of the few stars in this league who are equally elite on offense as on defense. Now Wiggins has Butler in Minnesota to mentor him as well.

Andrew Wiggins ceiling projects as a two-way superstar. He’s displayed the makings of elite offensive abilities moreso than defensively thus far in his career, but the potential is there. And he is absolutely worth a max contract extension.

Minnesota has built a championship contending caliber team, and they’re smart to lock up the core pieces long term. Wiggins, Towns, and Butler have the capacity to be the best “Big Three” in the league. I’m excited to see if they can get there.

About Preston Dubey

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