With new management in Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins will likely be on the trading block. Should the San Antonio Spurs take a chance on his young talent?
The San Antonio Spurs would like to acquire some young talent this offseason, but most of this year’s unrestricted free agents in their early 20’s will be out of the team’s price range and their first round picks probably won’t contribute much as rookies.
That leaves the trade market as the most viable place for the organization to accomplish this goal.
The young player that could be had for the lowest price compared to his level of talent is Andrew Wiggins.
Minnesota recently hired Gersson Rosas as their president of basketball operations, and he comes from the Daryl Morey tree.
Morey’s name is synonymous with the analytics revolution in basketball, and the advanced numbers haven’t liked Wiggins’ game since he’s been in the league.
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For example, the former number one overall pick ranked 88th out of 93 small forwards in defensive real plus-minus last year despite having all of the physical tools to be a good defender.
Wiggins also just signed a five-year, $147.7 million contract extension with the Wolves, and their new front office would probably like to get that number off of their books if they can this summer.
The Spurs may find Wiggins as a good fit in San Antonio because his two biggest deficiencies are areas where this player development staff thrives in coaching: outside shooting and defense.
The 6’8″ wing has increased his three-point attempt rate in each of the past three seasons, but he’s struggled to get them to fall at a consistent rate shooting under 34% from deep over the past two years.
Chip Engelland is one of the most famous shot doctors in the world, and maybe he can work a miracle with Wiggins’ shot like he did with Kawhi’s years ago.
And if there’s ever going to be a coach that gets Wiggins to defend at a high level, it would be Gregg Popovich. Pop has gotten nearly every one of his players to defend better in a Spurs uniform than they have anywhere else, and he could do that again with a player that has the physical talent that Wiggins possesses.
The contract would be a major deterrent for a San Antonio squad that can’t afford to add any more salary to their books at the moment, but DeMar DeRozan will be making a similar salary to Wiggins next year and a straight up DeRozan-for-Wiggins trade passes the ESPN trade machine test.
Unfortunately, the Wolves’ new analytical front office probably doesn’t like DeRozan’s midrange-based game either and wouldn’t want to make that type of move.
If Minnesota doesn’t pick up the phone with that offer, the Spurs can’t really put together a great package unless they wanted to send LaMarcus Aldridge up north and I don’t really see either side wanting to make that deal.
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While it would be fascinating to see Gregg Popovich and the rest of the coaching staff work their magic on a project like Wiggins, there just isn’t a realistic trade to be done between these two teams if a DeRozan-for-Wiggins swap is off the table.