The Summer Workout Plan is a weekly series breaking down what certain players can do to take their game to another level this season. We've already look OG Anunoby, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray.
This week, we're putting Andrew Wiggins' game under a microscope.
He still has the potential to be a star, but the next step for Andrew Wiggins is to prove he can play alongside Jimmy Butler.
It's something the Canadian struggled with for most of 2017-18. In his first season sharing a backcourt with Butler, Wiggins saw his scoring average fall from 23.6 points per game to 17.7 and his True Shooting Percentage (a statistic that takes into account 2-point field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws) reach a career-low.
The most obvious way Wiggins can have more success next to Butler is by becoming more comfortable playing without the ball in his hands, specifically as a 3-point shooter. Wiggins saw his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts increase last season - an encouraging sign for his fit alongside the ball-dominant Butler moving forward - but he made just over a third of those attempts.
|Shot Type||Pct of Total FGA||3PM||3PA||3PT%|
With most of his scoring coming from pick-and-rolls and isolations, Butler is at his best when he's surrounded by knockdown shooters. While he has that in Karl-Anthony Towns, who trailed only Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love in 3s made at the center position last season, the trio of Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Wiggins doesn't strike much fear into the heart of the defense.
Wiggins has at least had some success from the 3-point line in his NBA career, most notably in 2016-17, when he made 40.1 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts from deep. The closer he can get to that number, the more dynamic it would make the Timberwolves on offense.
However, the key for Wiggins is to strike a balance between shooting enough 3s to keep the defense honest while still playing to his strengths when he doesn't have the ball in his hands.
One way he can do that? By looking to score more frequently on cuts rather than relying solely on his 3-point shooting.
Wiggins checked out as one of the most efficient scorers on cuts last season, but those plays made up only 6.0 percent of his offense. With his speed, size and athleticism, there's no reason why he can't score at a similar rate in greater volume this season.
That would make for a smoother fit with Minnesota's other All-Star, too. Towns was one of the league leaders in post scoring and touches last season, and he's too good of a scorer with his back to the basket to not receive the same amount of opportunities this season. The two have already developed some chemistry in those situations - Towns assisted Wiggins on 53 baskets last season, many of which came out of the low block - so they have a decent foundation to build on.
The 3-point shooting and cutting go hand-in-hand for Wiggins. If he can become a more reliable threat from the perimeter, it will give Butler and Towns more space to work with as creators. If teams have to defend Wiggins a step closer than they did last season because of his improvements as a 3-point shooter, then there will be more space for him to cut when his defender helps off of him or loses sight of him.
The combination might not be enough for Wiggins to get some All-Star consideration this season, but it would help him tap into the limitless potential that made him the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.