Is Andrew Wiggins the Worst NBA Player of All Time?

Andrew Wiggins is a favorite bugbear of this here site, as dunking on his atrocious advanced stats and pointing out that he’s the biggest reason the Minnesota Timberwolves are hot garbage that hit their peak with a 47-win season and an 8 seed only because they rented Jimmy Butler is fruit so low-hanging that you’d think it was a potato.

Wiggins routinely ranks among the absolute most head-scratching wastes of minutes in the league.

Consider the following benchmarks: 2,500 minutes played (or about 32 minutes a game over an 82-game season).

Here’s where Wiggins’ first four seasons in the league rank in VORP among all players with at least 2500 minutes in those years:

135th, 137th, 138th, and 139th out of 140—only Carmelo Anthony‘s wretched 2017-18 campaign ranks worse.

What’s more, in a four-year stretch, there are seven instances where a player played at least 2500 minutes and posted a negative Value Over Replacement Player.

Andrew Wiggins has four of them. Only Melo, Devin Booker, and Harrison Barnes join him on that ignominious list.

Expanding the sample out to players with at least 2,000 minutes and including this year (Wiggins has played 2,263 minutes through games of March 26), here are Wiggins’ ranks:

487th, 495th, 499th, 505th, and 508th…out of 516. (incidentally, Collin Sexton‘s -1.9 VORP nearly laps the field and ranks fourth-worst all-time in VORP for players who played at least 2,000 minutes.)

All of this is well-worn territory for anyone who’s been paying attention.

The most alarming part? Wiggins is actually getting worse at basketball with each passing year.

Every single one of Wiggins’ Big 5 advanced stats—PER, True Shooting, Win Shares/48, Box Plus/Minus, and VORP—is the absolute worst of his entire career.

Yes, worse than when he was a 19-year-old rookie.

Out of all 82 players with at least 2,000 minutes this season, Wiggins is 76th in PER, dead last in TS%, and ahead of only Sexton and his historically putrid rookie campaign in WS/48, BPM, and VORP.

Collin Sexton makes $4 million and is getting a baptism by fire on a terrible Cavaliers team that is essentially letting him get G-League experience against actual NBA players—he has shown flashes of talent that suggest he’s due for a De’Aaron Fox-like breakout year if not next year than in Year 3.

Andrew Wiggins makes $25.47 million on a five-year max contract and has people not just in the Timberwolves front office but on NBA Twitter bamboozled into thinking he’s got any talent whatsoever when he has never—not once—posted a VORP better than what you’d expect if you gave his minutes to a competent small forward called up from the G-League.

Wiggins’ five-year max deal is the worst contract in the NBA right now, because while John Wall can’t stay healthy and Chris Paul is going to be on Social Security by the time his $40 million a year deal with Houston expires, at least Wall and CP3 are All-Stars when they’re healthy enough to take the floor.

We are witnessing one of the most fascinating career arcs in the history of basketball, because by all accounts it looks like a player who objectively sucked before he got a max deal is getting lazy and complacent now that he’s been paid.

Minnesota will never be able to trade Wiggins—no GM in the league with half a brain would take his salary. Even Ernie Grunfeld isn’t that stupid.

So what we’re going to be left with is the Anthony Davis Effect with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Towns—and his legit superstar-level .211 WS/48 and 5.5 VORP—has a five-year extension of his own kicking in next year, but if you think he and his agent aren’t going to be able to bully Minnesota into trading him when—not if, when—Towns finally gets sick of playing with the worst player in the league as the ostensible second-best player on the team, you haven’t been paying attention.

When Wiggins finally retires, and it’ll probably be after playing one more ineffective year on a non-guaranteed veteran minimum deal and getting cut before Christmas in 2023, we’ll be able to take a look at him, and unless he has a radical change of both attitude and ability to play professional basketball, Wiggins is in the running to become the worst player who ever made $100 million in the NBA.

Andrew Wiggins is getting worse at basketball. Gods save us all.

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