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Timberwolves Host Jazz, Wiggins' Improvement

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Just a Saturday thread. The Wolves host the Jazz tonight at Target Center.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolves host the Jazz tonight at Target Center in front of VIP YoLeo and girlfriend. Some thoughts on this:

  • As I noted elsewhere, how impressed must YoLeo's girlfriend be with his ability to choose winter vacation destinations? January in the Twin Cities! Brilliant!
  • Almost as impressive as his ability to choose an NBA team to root for.
  • The Wolves could actually win tonight, and end their 10 game losing streak. The Jazz are not very good and played yesterday at home (loss to the Hawks). This would  be nice for YoLeo.
  • The Jazz are almost as bad as the Wolves defensively, but have more ways to score at the moment. Gordon Hayward is shooting it pretty well this season, and Derrick Favors has made a significant leap, posting the highest FG%, TS%, and usage rate of his career so far.
  • The Jazz are a strong rebounding team, which was a big factor in their win over the Wolves the other night, as Key pointed out in his excellent article about Jeff Adrien.
  • Seriously, if you read this YoLeo, enjoy your trip and the games. Check in with us when you get the chance.
I wanted to make a couple of comments about Andrew Wiggins. He's played much better over the last handful of games, and it started in Cleveland with this:

Andrew Wiggins Shot Chart vs. Cleveland, 12.23.14

Just about an ideal shot selection against the Cavs. I don't know what happened that night, but something changed. He stopped taking all those mid-range, often contested jumpers and started getting into the paint. Frankly, I had been concerned that it was a matter of inability to get into the paint consistently that caused this, but over the last few games, he's been getting there consistently, and sprinkling in more three point shots, which is what we want to see.

A couple of things here:

  • The Wolves have been running lots of cross screens for Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad to get them in post position. It seems like when Wiggins can catch within 12-15 feet, he can succeed from there.
  • I think this is because when he only has to take one (or at most two) dribbles to get to the rim, his ball handling deficiencies are minimized.
  • He's also averaging nearly 6 FTAs/36 over the last five games, up from his season average.
  • His 3PAs are also up (and he's shooting them well), and he's averaging 21 a night over the last five.
  • His turnovers are down recently; I think this is due to the above--he's getting the ball in spots where he doesn't have to take multiple dribbles.
  • The non-scoring stuff still needs improvement; he had 5 offensive rebounds (9 total) and 4 steals against the Kings, but consistency in rebounding especially is something I would like to see going forward.
  • It's only five games, which of course can mean nothing, but the difference in the way he's playing and the shots he's getting makes me hopeful that he's making the first of what we all hope are many steps forward.
Have a great Saturday.