After several weeks of trade rumors, it seems the Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to land either Andrew Wiggins or Klay Thompson in return for Kevin Love. Both of these players have their strengths, but which one would be a better fit for Minnesota?
Love is arguably a top-five offensive player in the NBA, so neither one of these young trade options would be able to match his ability, but both players have great potential.
The Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders may prefer Thompson over Wiggins, according to ESPN reporter Marc Stein:
Only Cavs, of teams in Love hunt, can offer potential superstar in Wiggins' class. But Flip Saunders, as we know, is a big Klay Thompson fan— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 24, 2014
If the Timberwolves were ready to win now, then Thompson would be the better choice because he is already a polished stud. Unfortunately for the Wolves, they are still years away from competing.
However, Thompson is definitely a more proven player than Wiggins. He's most known for his excellent three-point shooting. He has shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc every season of his career.
Thompson is only 24 years old and has shown steady offensive progress (as seen in the stat graph below).
According to Basketball-Reference.com, every single year of his three-year career he has increased his Win Shares, but his Player Efficiency Rating has yet to reach the league average (15):
His inability to reach the league average of 15 in PER is very disappointing considering Michael Beasley recorded a 16.8 last year, and he's not currently on an NBA roster.
Thompson's biggest flaw is his lack of athleticism, which causes him to struggle getting around defenders and playing transition defense. His slow lateral speed and footwork really hold back Thompson's potential.
Ironically, Wiggins' biggest strength is his elite athletic ability (as seen in the GIF below).
Wiggins' explosiveness makes him a huge threat on the fast break and allows him to attack the rim at will. His size and quick feet also allow him to defend practically any guard or small forward.
The biggest concern surrounding Wiggins is his rough offensive game. His perimeter shooting tends to be inconsistent, and his ball-handling skills need a lot of work.
Even though Wiggins may not be NBA-ready, he did post very impressive numbers in his one college year at Kansas (as seen in the info graph below).
Wiggins proved to be a capable scorer at the college level, but only time will tell if he can succeed in the NBA.
Both of these players can be potential All-Stars, but Wiggins is only 19 years old, and with his athletic ability he definitely has the higher ceiling.
According to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, first-round pick Zach LaVine supports the Timberwolves getting Wiggins:
#Twolves rookie Zach LaVine, friends with Andrew Wiggins, on possibly playing with him: "He’ll bring a lot of excitement to Minnesota."— Andy Greder (@twolvesnow) July 30, 2014
If the Timberwolves want a fresh start and a chance to bring excitement to Minnesota, they should take Wiggins over Thompson.
If they do land Wiggins, they will most likely also get young, potential star Anthony Bennett. With Bennett, Wiggins and LaVine, this team could be dangerous five years down the road.
All NBA stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com
All College stats are courtesy of Sports-Reference.com
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