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FiveThirtyEight previews Timberwolves, projects Wiggins could be next Carmelo

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Will Wiggins resemble Anthony the most when he's a seasoned veteran?

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's FiveThirtyEight site has a wealth of stats, information and data and as part of their league-wide season preview, they turn their attention to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Basically, they don't believe the team is heading towards the playoffs anytime soon but that this season will be an important opportunity to develop their younger players in a beneficial manner:

If everything goes well, we could be mentioning the Wolves in the same breath as the New Orleans Pelicans in next year's CARMELO preview: a team that's on the verge of becoming a title contender. There really is that much upside on the roster among Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio.

But they could also be a total disaster. For now the Wolves are a collection of misfit toys, full of players who are a little too young, a little too old, a little too one-dimensional, a little too injury-prone.

Though that may not be earth-shattering news to their fans, the season preview does yield an intriguing tidbit regarding Andrew Wiggins.

Have you tried out their NBA player projection system named CARMELO yet? You can choose any player from any team to see how the algorithm projects the next several years of their career and which players they most resemble. It's quite fun if you're a fan of a team on the rise with young talent, but not so much if your team is stocked with aging veterans.

In any rate, Wiggins certainly appears headed to a long and fruitful NBA career but CARMELO believes he most resembles, um, Carmelo Anthony himself. Why, you say?

Anthony, Wiggins's No. 1 comparable, is a good example of what Wiggins's upside could look like. In Anthony's rookie year in 2003-04, he was a high-volume but fairly low-efficiency scorer, averaging 21 points per game on 43 percent shooting. Middling scoring efficiency is one of the more forgivable flaws for a young player, however. Both shooting technique and shot selection can (and often do) improve with practice and experience, especially for a player on a young, rebuilding team whose teammates are improving alongside him.

Okay, that's on offense but does FiveThirtyEight's CARMELO think they resemble each other on the other side of the floor?

Whereas CARMELO is enamored of (Marcus) Smart and (Elfrid) Payton, it's more tentative in its affection toward Wiggins. The reason is his defense, which cost the T-Wolves about 2 points per 100 possessions while Wiggins was on the floor last season. Wiggins's D will likely improve, but he could wind up a lot like Anthony: very good, but between mediocre defense and average efficiency, not quite as good as his box score stats suggest.

Do you agree with FiveThirtyEight or do you think Wiggins has a higher (or lower) ceiling than Anthony? Which NBA player does he remind you of the most?

Click here for their complete Timberwolves preview.