1. IMPROVED SHOT SELECTION
The biggest difference is Wiggins is eschewing one of the least-efficient shots — long two-pointers, defined here (gray area on court) by anything between 16 feet and the three-point-line — in favor of more three-pointers. That’s significant because NBA players on average made 40.1% of long twos last season and 35.5% of threes — meaning the shot value of a long two is 0.802 points per shot (.401⊗2) but the value of a three is 1.065 points per shot (.355⊗3).
Percentage of field-goal attempts 16 feet to the three-point line (gray area):
First five seasons
Percentage of Wiggins’ overall field goal attempts from three-point range:
First five seasons
2. BETTER BALL HANDLING
Wiggins has thrived this season as a ballhandler, sometimes operating as a de facto point guard. He is averaging a career-high in assists (3.4, compared to a career average of 2.2) while committing only 1.9 turnovers per game (below his 2.1 career average). And he has done that while compiling a career-high 29.2 usage rate — which measures how many Wolves possessions out of 100 end in a Wiggins shot, turnover or trip to the free-throw line.
3. ADD IT UP
Improved shot selection, ball handling and decisions have vaulted Wiggins into career highs so far in other important advanced metrics.
• His player efficiency rating — a single number that tries to measure all contributions — is a career-best 19.2 after sitting at 12.4 and 13.0 each of the past two seasons (15 is league average).
• His value over replacement player, which was on the negative side each of his first five seasons, is on the plus side this year.
• His effective field-goal percentage, which takes into account that three-pointers are worth more than twos, is a career-best .507.
• And on the defensive end, Wiggins’ defensive rebound rate (11.8) and block rate (2.9) are also career highs.
All data via Basketball Reference