Four Players Who Deserve Andrew Wiggins’ All-Star Spot
Bad Men, Bad Takes – Season 1
The All-Star starters for 2022 were announced only hours ago, and the thing I feared has come true: Andrew Wiggins is an All-Star starter.
I’ve been saying for weeks around the BMBT office that I don’t want to be in a world where he is an All-Star, but here we are. Maple Jordan has done it. However, there are many other players who are more deserving of that spot.
Now, don’t get this twisted. This is not to say Wiggins hasn’t been playing well or an attempt to undermine his importance to the Warriors and their success so far this season, but I’m going to outline below four players who deserve the spot more than he does.
Are there candidates more deserving of Andrew Wiggins’ All-Star spot? Credit: San Francisco Chronicle
Andrew Wiggins: 18.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.0apg, 0.9spg, 0.6bpg, 40.4% 3FG, DRTG 101.8, GP 44.
Now, let’s take a look at four players who I believe deserved the final ‘forward’ starting spot in the Western Conference.
Rudy Gobert: 16.0ppg, 15.1rpg, 1.2apg, 0.8spg, 2.3bpg, 0.0% 3FG, DRTG 103.8, GP 42.
Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert has been anchoring the league’s 12th best defence this season, which might not seem like much compared to Wiggins’ Warriors, who are the best defensive team in the league, but when you do a little more digging, you can see why Gobert is a more important piece than Wiggins.
While Golden State have a superior defence to Utah (102.4 points per 100 possessions allowed compared to 109), and Wiggins individually has a superior defensive rating to Gobert, you need to take into account the way the player impacts the team beyond the pure metric. While Wiggins has been great on the perimeter for Golden State, he is also a product of a system that has two other elite level defenders on its roster (Andre Iguodala, 95.9 and Draymond Green, 101.5).
Now, this is not to say Wiggins is not a great defender in his own right, but being a member of the best defensive team in the league is made far easier when you have two other elite level defenders helping you achieve that rating – something Gobert doesn’t have the luxury of.
Rudy is not only the best defender on his team, but he is forced to cover the deficiencies of his teammates who play major roles, like Donovan Mitchell (110.4), Bojan Bogdanovic (110.6) and Royce O’Neale (110.5). People talk about Wiggins taking the best opposition wing on most possessions, and that is definitely true, but Gobert not only takes the best opposition big, but challenges the best (and every) opposition player EVERY TIME they blow by the perimeter defender and attack the rim.
Taking defensive rating out of the equation (this is an All-Star game after all!), Gobert is only a few points and assists per game behind Wiggins, but pulls in three times as many rebounds and blocks four times as many shots. The fact Wiggins is starting over Gobert shows how little the casual fan thinks about the games they are watching and how strong the Golden State bandwagon is this season.
Gobert is a far more deserving candidate than Wiggins to start next month in Cleveland.
Rudy Gobert heads up my list of players who should take Wiggins’ spot. Credit: Forbes
Karl-Anthony Towns: 24.1ppg, 9.4rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1spg, 1.3bpg, 41.0% 3FG, DRTG 109.3, GP 40.
Former teammate of Wiggins in Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns, is also a more deserving starter.
First and foremost, his statistics are superior to Wiggins across all major categories – points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and even three-point percentage (if only slightly). He is also faced with the same issue Gobert is when it comes to defensive rating (which Wiggins is superior in), which is needing to cover for the defensive deficiencies of teammates who play major roles like Malik Beasley (109.4) and Anthony Edwards (107.5).
He is hands down the best player on the Timberwolves and the team is 2-5 when he doesn’t play (winning just 28% of their games), compared to 22-18 when he does play (winning 55% of their games). His impact on the Wolves winning games is far greater than that of Wiggins for the Warriors, who have won 75% of their games without him, albeit in a smaller sample size.
Add to this that Towns has been arguably carrying a team who is currently the 7th seed despite only having one playoff appearance since the start of the 2004-2005 season, and we won’t go into detail about that Jimmy Butler year. What this shows is that the Wolves are deserving of being represented at All-Star weekend by a starter, and if punters choose to overlook Gobert, Towns is the logical choice.
Karl-Anthony Towns has superior statistics to Wiggins in nearly every way. Credit: New York Post
Paul George: 24.7ppg, 7.1rpg, 5.5apg, 2.0spg, 0.4bpg, 32.3% 3FG, DRTG 104.5, GP 26.
Perhaps the most controversial pick of players who are more deserving than Wiggins is Clippers forward Paul George.
The biggest knock on George’s All-Star candidacy this season is a simple lack of availability due to injury, however with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the league, games played is probably as un-important in the selection of players this season as it has ever been. He lost out on the fan vote as time went on due to being out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind for the heavy majority of casual NBA fans, but his impact this season has been immense for an LA team that has held firm without Kawhi Leonard.
Head-to-head with Wiggins, George compiles more (on a per-game average) points, rebounds, assists and steals and while his shooting splits are down comparted to Wiggins, he is also the first option night in, night out for LA, attempting 8.3 threes per night. This is much higher than Wiggins, who attempts 5.3 per contest as a third option behind Curry and one of either Poole or Thompson.
George has been everything for LA when on the court this season and the way the team has slumped since he injured his elbow is proof of just how high a level he has been playing at when available.
He is more deserving of starting this game than Wiggins.
Despite only managing 26 games so far this season, Paul George offers superior play to Wiggins when on the floor. Credit: Orange County Register
Draymond Green: 7.9ppg, 7.6rpg, 7.4apg, 1.4spg, 1.2bpg, 28.6% 3FG, 101.5 DRTG, 34 GP.
The final option for players who are more deserving of starting the All-Star game over Andrew Wiggins is Golden State teammate, Draymond Green.
While we’ve known for years that Green’s influence on a game cannot be measured through his statistics alone, he still averages more rebounds, assists, steals and blocks than Wiggins, in addition to a slightly better defensive rating (101.5 compared to 101.8). He is also undoubtedly the spiritual leader of the team, setting the tone and demanding the best out of his teammates, like Wiggins, and helping them excel in their role.
It’s also worth noting that while Wiggins is almost exclusively a perimeter defender who can get exposed in the paint by larger opponents. Green is not only adept at defender players down low, he is also competent when switched onto the perimeter to guard smaller players.
If, as a collective, we as an NBA fan base are determined to give Golden State another All-Star due to their overall record and dominance over the majority of the league, it should be Draymond Green and not Andrew Wiggins.
If we are determined to give the Warriors another All-Star alongside Curry, it should be Draymond Green. Credit: Pinterest
So, what do you think? Let me know on twitter (@BMBTPodcast) or send us an email at BMBTPodcast@gmail.com!
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