Film Room: Can LA contain super rookie Andrew Wiggins?


It only took less than a full NBA season, but the large contingent of people who doubted how well Andrew Wiggins‘ offense would translate at the professional level are eating crow. On the season, the number one overall pick is averaging 15.8 points on 43% shooting (34% from three), but over the last five games, Wiggins has looked like the star many expected him to be, averaging 21.6 points on 49.4% over his last game.

And next up on the Wiggins “Rookie of the Year” mini-domination tour? The Los Angeles Clippers.

According to Synergy Sports, 20.3 percent of Wiggins’ attempts come from post-ups. The numbers aren’t pretty (61-154, 39.6%, .79 PPP), but at his size, he puts himself at an advantage against the opposition, drawing fouls on nearly 16% of his attempts. Without Matt Barnes, who has been proclaimed out due to a hamstring issue, this could be an issue.

As seen in the animated GIF below, Wiggins takes advantage of the undersized Tony Allen — who just happens to be one of the best defensive players in the NBA — in the low post.

One wrinkle Flip Saunders has used to get Andrew Wiggins a mismatch in the hi/low-post is the 1-3 pick-and-roll with Ricky Rubio. In two separate instances, Wiggins showed the ability to attack the basket and knock down the jump shot:

In the past, the Clippers have shown a willingness to switch on guard-wing pick-and-rolls (think Chris Paul on Kevin Durant during the 2013-14 NBA playoffs), meaning we could see some CP3 on Wiggins, or one of J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford, all who are smaller than Wiggins.

Because of injury to Barnes, we could see 10-day contractee Jordan Hamilton get a shot at the rookie. According to Basketball Reference, Hamilton stands at a 6-foot-7, or just an inch under Wiggins. Contrary to popular belief, height is overrated in regards to defense. On a basic level it helps, but if Hamilton is unable to keep Wiggins in front off him and keep him from comfortably getting the ball in his favorite spots (from the tape, that area is at the free-throw line & extended), the height won’t matter.

And with any other capable NBA wing, the last line of defense matters as much as the first line. With Barnes out, Wiggins getting to the basket would come to the surprise of few meaning DeAndre Jordan, who’s revved up his defense at the rim lately, will have to play free safety to keep the forward deterred at the paint — after a year in college, it was safe to say Wiggins would struggle with contact under the rim despite being super athletic. If not … well, we could see a lot of this (and for reference, per NBA Stats, Wiggins is shooting 64.3% in the restricted area):

All-in-all, containing Wiggins isn’t the only the Clippers should focus on for tomorrow’s matchup. There’s Kevin Martin, whose just as deadly as Wiggins on the perimeter, keeping Andrew Wiggins’ playmaking at bay and making sure Kevin Garnett doesn’t enter the hot tub time machine against his former head coach. But if Wiggins gets going, the road to victory gets that much harder for the depleted Clippers.

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