Wiggins 41 points and 2 Assists and Other Take Aways
~The WVU game was such a bitter pill on so many levels. Let me count the ways.
~The WVU game made starkly clear that even a Herculean, come-from-behind, scoring performance of 41 points by Andrew Wiggins cannot carry this team to a victory over a 65th ranked KENPOM team. How can this be? How can such an obviously exceptional talent putting on such an awesome individual performance (he scored efficiently, rebounded his own misses well, made steals, and blocked shots) not succeed? How could Andrew putting his team on his back not yield a W against a good, but not exceptional team?
Answer: 2 assists.
Amplification: The only perimeter players that can carry teams on their back are guys that not only score their own points, but also make their teammates score points, too. Otherwise, giving Andrew all the touches he was given becomes a zero sum game, even when he shoots 12-18 FG and 15-19 FT. Hell yes, he shot a much higher percentage than any of his teammates could have done, unless they were receiving unguarded dishes near the basket. And, of course, there in lies the persistent issue. Wigs does not yet know how to both play at a high level and make his teammates better. He remains, in March, an either/or proposition. Either you get his solo game at a high level, or you get his team game at a modest level, and regardless of which level you get, he is not making his teammates much better with assists, and he is making TOs. The greatness of his performance, and it was one of KU’s great one-man-independent-of-a-team performances, did not make his teammates better.
Of course, we can say, to make excuses for him, that his teammates sucked; that Tarik Black felt to earth like Icarus; that Selden played poorly, that Tharpe played so poorly he was benched and left benched for an 0-6 Conner Frankamp, who stayed on the floor 15 minutes simply by playing decent defense, and for Frank Mason, who stayed on the floor 18 minutes by scoring 9 points and looking like a competitor.
But here’s what sticks out like a sore thumb. Perry Ellis, Tarik Black, Landen Lucas, and Justin Wesley combined for 9-19, which means that they were not shooting any uncontested dishes at the basket created by the attempts of WVU to help defend on Andrew at the iron.
This game was about Andrew shooting and Andrew grabbing 4 offensive rebounds, presumably some of his own shots, and putting them back.
Question: How does a player get 18 FGAs, many driving, and many more looks and wind up with 2 assists?
What is wrong with this picture?
The take away on Andrew is that when he plugs into the offense his performances are modest and he is only making people better as a decoy, and not based on getting assists.
~Tarik Black is another huge story. It was apparent before the game from Self’s “Wigs is POY” float with Gary Bedore that two things were hopefully supposed to happen against WVU that had not yet happened, while KU was actually trying to win a conference title. First, Wigs had to get a pile of points to justify Self’s claim he should be POY. Second, Wigs had to get a pile of points and the POY to get him back in the Number 1 draft choice sweepstakes. This had to happen to keep Self from appearing the kind of a coach that could kill an OAD’s chances at being first or second in the draft. These two agenda items, of course, meant that Tarik was NOT going to be played through today, despite his good showing against TTech, and so was NOT schemed for another big day. On the other hand, Tar was not supposed to go directly to the planet Foulathon either.
So: on the one hand, leave us not be too hard on Tarik just yet, but on the other hand, let us not be too easy on Tarik either. The TTech game was to get Tar comfortable and untracked. The WVU game was to put Wigs BACK on the hyper-hype radar. The latter worked. Cheyenne Mountain is back on Andrew.
Still, Tarik only got 2 points and 4 rebounds in 22 foul encumbered minutes. Which is the real Tarik? The answer is that Tar at TTech is the real Tarik, when KU runs the conventional hi-lo offense against a cellar dweller and that the WVU Tarik is the real Tarik, when you run the offense through Wiggins against a 65th ranked KENPOM team.
Tarik’s only capable of being a solid contributor and a guy capable of making others better, when he is in the role of conventional big man; that is, in a game in which the hi-lo action revolves around him. Teammates have to be running the stuff and the ball has to be going into him and back out, and he has to be moving low and high. And even then he is at risk of disappearing, either because of fouls, or because of MUAs, as has been his tendency throughout his career at KU and Memphis. But at the very least, vs. TTech, we learned that the offense can run and other players “can be” made better, when it is a Tarik-centric universe.
The take away on Tar is that Tar is unpredictable, but when he is on he makes everyone better.
~Self, having taken care of his apparent obligations to Wiggins’ draft rank, next during the B12 tourney, can begin to try to blend Tar (or Joel) and Wiggins back into a hi-lo offense that runs the stuff, makes everyone better, and is at any moment ready to clear it out and tell Andrew to go get baskets with a rust removed vengeance. That at least seems to be the plan from this remote corner of phase space, after watching the Morgantown Mess Up. Opposing coaches beware, Self seems to be saying, if you put too much contact defense on us for too long, strategic air command will scramble Andrew Wiggins and turn it into a one man game.
~The next big story is Joel Embiid reputedly not making the trip to Morgantown. On one level, it makes sense. Keeping back-injured Joel cooped up in a jet for serveral hours each way, when he could be home receiving treatments non stop seems the only sensible to play, even if the plan were to bring him back for the 3 in 3 B12 tourney, which makes no sense to me.
At the same time, this read of the situation implies that Joel’s back is still not good enough, after several days of treatments, to be cooped up in an airplane; this is kind of a black cloud, is it not?
Take away on Joel: his back and return status remain uncertain and that is really bad news.
~A little good news: Perry continued his inchoate crawl out of his offensive slump and ensuing demoralization with a 14/5 game against a solid, four big WVU rotation. But his defense was not what was needed. Take away: Perry looks increasingly thin as the season wears on. Something has to give this summer. Either he has to add 15-20, or he’s got to move to the 3; this is a waste of a good basketball player.
~A little more good news: Jam Tray went 6/7 with a block, a steal and an assist in 24 minutes, which normalizes to maybe 10/10 and so a Kevin Young kind of performance potential if Self ever finally throws up his hands at playing Perry this season the way he did with Naa today. Take away: Jam Tray is progressing with maddening deliberateness, but he is progressing.
Miscellaneous Glass half full: Frankamp and Mason and Greene didn’t do much good, but did little harm. Frankamp, however, was 0-4 from trey, and 0-2 inside the stripe. While he defended credibly, his line score was goose eggs. 15 minutes of goose eggs for a coach that likes his reserves to explode out of position for something or other may not cause CF to hold on to so many minutes, even if Self were to banish Tharpe into a black hole.
Take Away: the green perimeter reserves are not much better in March than in February, and January. These young men have not responded well to being put in competition with each other and being pulled for each mistake. I expected otherwise. Self is going to have to look into this in the off season. This approach has not worked.
~And then there was Naa. I left him for last, because, frankly, there was nothing surprising at all about his game today. He sucked after playing well previously. Self rested him for the B12 tourney. I have a hunch Naa is “beat up,” or “nicked up.” Either way, it was pointless to burn his wick, no matter how bad, or good he was, in a meaningless game. The only purpose of this game, as I said above, being to fatten up Wiggins numbers and juice his draft stock. No point in knocking Naa for his usual one up, and one down routine. The fact is Naa has come to play for a lot of big games this season, and sucked today. We just have to hope he isn’t TOO “knicked up.” Take away: forget this game by Naa. It means nothing.
~Overall take away: as awful as it was in real time, and it was an absolute stinking rotten egg of a game, even with Wiggins number fattening routine. In fact it is remotely possible that the game was so bad, because everyone on the team possibly understood that this one was for draft day. So: fuggeddaboutit.
@jaybate 1.0 I expect a hammering from this, but I think most of your comments about wiggins are bs. When he plays w/in the team concept, which he has done most of the season, he’s considered lazy. When we have an off game, by so many today, the only way we got back in, was for Wiggins to put us on his back. If Self was going to pad Wiggins stats for the NBA, he could have left him in the TT game. He’s by far, our best defender! As far as Tarik goes, it’s hard for him to get any feel, when he’s trying to cover all the quick little guards that we can’t keep out of the paint! Hammer away!
Don’t be afraid.
You called Andrew lazy, not me.
I have no idea what made him go 9/4 vs. TTECH, then only dish 2 assists on all the touches he had in a 41 PT point padding game.
Bottom line: 22-8
And the team can’t beat a 65 on a 41 point, 2 assist performance.
Are you blaming Tar for Wiggins not being able to carry the team on his back?
Not many players can do it as freshmen. It’s no knock on Wigs that he can’t. He’s a great scorer at this point. Not many can even say that.
I think Wigs is a great talent that still doesn’t know how to put a team on his back and win.
I think Embiid is the only guy on the team that is ready for back packing.
I don’t see why you would be offended by Self letting Wigs pad his numbers in a meaningless game? It could mean millions for Wigs. After Wigs subordinated to team all season, doesn’t Wigs deserve a number padding game the same as Perry Ellis got?
Maybe you are just a little sensi, eh?
REHawk last edited by
@jaybate 1.0 jb, I think you are too harsh on AW at this particular moment. Kid’s a freshman. Just not enough TIME for him to adapt to and polish the complete game. Other than the 5 turnovers and 2 assists, he posted magnificent stats today. Would probably have been even better if guards had decided early on (and late) to ride his hand. I liked his second period aggressiveness. He and Traylor were really hustling and scrapping.
HighEliteMajor last edited by HighEliteMajor
@jaybate - I will say this, your sense of timing is not lacking in guts.
Wiggins literally willed our team back into the game today, put us on his back, and nearly got us the win. But for a few missed free throws and a Mason turnover late, we might have done it. Today was a case where he simply said “it’s my game.” Alpha dog stuff. Carmelo Anthony stuff. Durant-esque.
I have been all over this Wiggins assist thing, as you know. It is astonishing to me how many points he leaves on the floor because he refuses to pass. An extreme case of tunnel vision.
But you touch on an incredible point – does he make anyone on the team better?
And I think that leads to another point – when he does have this epiphany, he will be incredible.
Wiggins should drop 5 assists per game without a problem. And it would make him better because as those assists increase, his path to the hoop will become less congested. But this is why players need more time in college. To adjust their games and get better. He won’t get it. As the color guy said today, teams game plan to attack Wiggins’ second bounce because he doesn’t pass.
He is just a freshman.
@jaybate 1.0 many KU fans called him lazy, didn’t say you. Coach Self asked Wiggins during the TT game if he wanted back in and Wiggins wanted the seniors to play. Tarik’s play had nothing to do w/Wiggins play. I was referring to all our guards that couldn’t keep their man in front of them. As far as assists go, anybody have more than 2? Self wants him to take it to the hole. My goodness his stats were awesome.
drgnslayr last edited by
I was amazed we came this close to winning.
This game was like the Kansas City Chiefs playing without a quarterback.
We didn’t have a quarterback. Conner had a valiant effort but he is green and has no experience running this team… consequently… no harmony. If it wasn’t for Mason chipping in 10 points and 2 assists, we would have had ZERO production from the PG position!
When was the last time we had ZERO production from the PG position? Points, assists, rebounds, steals… all of it counts as production.
The fact that we laid an egg at the PG position while our superstar center is recovering… I’d say it is pretty amazing that we kept it close.
And though I’m not excited about the outcome, it is best this team dumps out before the big tourney. No more SI covers for this team unless they bring home the hardware!
My hopes were that we would step up with Embiid gone and make a statement… prove that our defense is more than just JoJo blocking shots and Andrew playing sticky. My hopes were dashed!
drgnslayr last edited by drgnslayr
If Andrew would stay another year he could work more on feeding others for assists.
As it is now, he needs all his focus on finishing his shots. I’m satisfied with that. He has showed steady improvement this year. You wouldn’t have seen him score 41 on the road in November!
Andrew’s lack of assists in this game wasn’t the problem. We didn’t have leadership on the road. No team without leadership is going to win this game (especially on the road). It was a miracle we were in it at the end!
Actually… many big scorers don’t rack up assists. We are spoiled at Kansas because we play team ball and usually have plenty of assists from everyone, including our big scorers.
icthawkfan316 last edited by
In other news, Wooden/Naismith favorite Doug McDermott, senior forward for the Creighton Jays, scored 45 points while also dealing out a measly 2 assists. Jeez, what a selfish, solo game performing, not making his teammates better performance. Probably just his daddy trying to improve his draft stock and earn him all kinds of awards. He’s probably garbage.
ParisHawk last edited by
@icthawkfan316 love your post but did mcD drive or shoot from outside? How many TOs? Makes sense that a guy who drives should work on turning TOs into assists.
So after your explanation my posts about Andrew still don’t seem like bs. Wigs got enough minutes vs, TTECH to do more than 9/4 even on the day of the Second Coming. For what it’s worth, I started posting a few games back that Wigs was on the verge of a breakout game soon. So let’s savor that Wigs has shown opponents he can become a force on the floor and hope this tilts opponents to him enough that when we get our starting guard clicking and Joel back that Andrew’s gravity will open it up when we run the stuff, if we do. It has also occurred to me that Wigs was green lighted, because Joel maybe wasn’t coming back at all, but that seems slightly less probable at this point. Either way, Rock Chalk!
So without Embid in the same time zone, Black and Seldon neutralized by fouls and Tharpe and Mason outplayed on both ends of the floor and no bench support what so ever in the first half. Wiggins was supposed to defer shooting?
I said it after the game to a friend, if anyone could have made freethrows late we might of had a chance.
That and if guys kept trying to go one on one there weren’t named Andrew Wiggins.
Feed the hot hand, he may only had two assist, but he had one late on the high low game that really sparked KU.
Nobody bashed EJ last year in Ames for going off for 39 in an OT win. So I am guessing that if KU would have won, the praises would have been sung.
Coach, his high school coach, father, Self, and all the recruiting services and pundits have said Wigs could do what he did yesterday from the beginning anytime he were green lighted to play outside the offense for a game. This line was not improvement. This was what most knowledgeable people close to him said he could do if permitted to.
Had Self grew lighted him the entire game, he would easily have had 50; that is what a great scorer can do on a hot night , when told to play outside the offense for 40 minutes. Bud Stallworth did the same thing one game from outside without the three point shot. Heck, EJ went off for 39 last year in a meaningful game on bad knees; that was a much more Herculean performance.
But the difference between Stallworth and EJ dropping big numbers and Wigs doing it is that Wigs is a monster talent and could, according to those closest to him, do this any night he were permitted to.
I believe them.
But I suspect the results might be similar most games.
I am not being harsh at all. It was a great performance by a guy that could have done it many times this season, if allowed.
But while there was a title to be won and Embiid to play through, it never made sense.
@jaybate 1.0 I agree about if he was green lit he could do it any time he wanted.
One he has a smooth jumper. Two his second jump and ability to get his own miss is something you don’t see much, especially as high as he gets on both jumps. Three he defers a lot to his teammates, maybe not for assist, but I have seen him give up open jumpers to make a pass.
But I think yesterday he could have still had 35 if Embid would have been there to help contribute with maybe 15. Take a little pressure off of Wiggins but still allow him to play his game to keep them in it.
Down 25 and lose by 6 all because Wiggins willed them to do.
I’m not sure he had more of a green light yesterday than any other day. He was just more aggressive. I think Self would want that any game. I don’t think he too any bad shots that went in.
RockChalkinTexas last edited by RockChalkinTexas
Anybody see what Iowa State fans did when they introduced Smart? The whole student section did a mass flop! It was priceless
Classless WVU fans chanting USA and booing Wiggins every time he had the ball. What was that?
Oh and Joel is going to see a back specialist in California today and tomorrow.
I am totally on board with 99% of what you posted. Most big scorers don’t have assists. Further, most big scorers don’t make their mates better. Finally, the problem was not Andrew. The problems were:
The team had MINIMAL PG PRODUCTION and LEADERSHIP.
The team had no effective center much of the game.
The team got out-rebounded.
The defense could not deny WVU HIGH PERCENTAGE SHOTS.
Selden was eaten alive by his man.
No one could guard Devin Williams.
Our bigs were 9-19 at one point and so were not getting easy shots.
We committed about twice the TOs.
But the bottom line was that green lighting Wigs the scorer was not a solution.
The ONLY thing we disagree on is this: whether Wigs could have done this before.
I am confident Wigs could have had this kind of game several times from the beginning had he been allowed to, if he had similar circumstances.
His HS coach and father have hinted at this. All the recruiting services and pundits have. Even Self has implied that if he didn’t have to plug in to an offense he could have much, much better numbers.
But despite this one difference, the biggest point of agreement is that good team defense seems to reduce to Joel and Andrew, as you noted, and that is NOT GOOD!!
What we have to hope is that this really was a meaningless game and Self really was,after yanking Tharpe, just creAting a situation where Wigs could have a PR game, and that none of it meant anything else.
And I think that was exactly the case.
@Hawk8086 No he didn’t take a lot of bad shots. He drew enough fouls to go 15 for 19 from the line and he made 12 of 18 shots from the field. He made 2 of 5 three-pointers.
It wasn’t like he went all Allen Iverson and took 34 shots to get 41 points. His shot was falling, if it wasn’t KU would have lost by 30.
You feed the hot hand. Look back to the 03 title game, Melo kept feeding the ball to McNamarra in the first half for three, why not? Feed the hot hand. Davidson made a run a few years back, they kept feeding Steph Curry the ball, why? He had the hot hand.
A few weeks back Fran kept saying when Wiggins was driving to the rim he wasn’t looking at the rim and he wasn’t finishing because of that. Now that he is finishing he’s a bad passer.
A few weeks back the whole KU team had 6 assist and I posted about it and everyone told me the game plan in the second half was to drive to the rim. Well today it’s Andrew can’t pass.
He’s not perfect, nobody is ever perfect, and he is still incredibly young and has that much talent.
Our D was the problem yesterday, not Andrew going for 41. They had three players score 22, 24 and 28. Hard to beat any team when you allow that to happen.
@RockChalkinTexas Classless WVU fans chanting USA and booing Wiggins every time he had the ball. What was that?
They were booing because he played prep ball in WV and didn’t even consider going to school there.
Well, meaning to or not, you practically made my case with McDermott and his dad. Thx.
KU vs. WVU was a disposable game. We are talking about millions of dollars if you don’t ensure Wigs gets a showcase game down the stretch before the Madness, when you have to play to win, because it is win, or out. He had reputedly fallen several choices. It seems improbable to think of what happened otherwise.
RockChalkinTexas last edited by
@JRyman Would you have gone there given all the parameters?
Exactly, Wigs was not the problem AND he was not the solution.
And I’m not bashing him at all. He had a great performance in a meaningless game where he was apparently being showcased for draft day. Why does that rankle you so? He could just as easily have shot the ball poorly, right?
And regarding EJ’s game, it WAS a way bigger deal. He was playing for a very good team that would get to 30 wins and he helped his team win an important game and did it on knees that had robbed him of much of his natural athleticism. Waaaaay more meaningful accomplishment.
wrwlumpy last edited by wrwlumpy
I listed this game as our toughest after watching the WVU game in Allen. Staten makes all guards in the Big 12 look crippled. What he did to Greene on a circle/pivot/drive was the most embarrassing defensive play of the year for KU.
Self says to Andrew, “This is a disposable game, I’m going to give you the green light to build your draft stock, so I want you to steal inbounds plays and dunk right after you hit a three and account for 5 points in 2 seconds. I want you to get all the steals you can today since I’ve been holding you back from doing that. But don’t make it too obvious.” The guards stunk, the bigs were horrible and Andrew was magnificent. It’s Self’s fault.
This is one time I disagree Jaybate.
We keep writing the same stuff again & again. Our guard play is awful, our team def sucks, we don’t have a prayer without Joel, Tarik may or may not be in the twilight zone, & Wigs is great, but just not great enough.
They played so bad I shut the radio off down 25 on the way to MCI in the 2nd half. I couldn’t stand to listen to the bleeding, let alone watch it…
OK then let’s talk about Bill…what can possibly do to correct some of this?
If Na is hurt, play CF & Mason more & the tradeoff is better D, in lieu of Tharpe’s scoring. Oh he didn’t score yesterday? Well wtf, send him to the DR & like with Embid, just move on.
He can just leave Joel out of the equation because at this stage of the season, he really is. No Big 12 games in KC & hope he can get past the 2nd round if available in another 10 days? Seems like I may have missed one, oh the first game that’s it. Surely we can win one without Embid-we have such a deep & formidable frontcourt? All we have is Black, Ellis, Traylor, Lucas & Wesly & that totals 50 fouls. Last time I looked our FT def was great-we may just have to rely on it. If you are going to run a hi lo, this is what it is, just burn the oil late & cram. Some of these guys are quite capable unless they are fed too much, sleep too late, or should happen to get a dear John from home. Hold all their mail if needed.
He can try to run the offense thru Wigs-if but only if Wigs is up to it. On consecutive game days in KC he may have to rest AW’s shooting arm for a day should he go off again for another 40 or so. Or maybe he can do a Bo Kimble & shoot his FT’s left handed-Hey that’s a thought. In the dance, one day off between should be sufficient. If Joel is still attending the interferential acupuncture trailer of the Dr Yoo traveling rehab show, one weekend most likely will be enough time to rest up. After that, Wigs can just practice reps for for the hat ceremony in the green room & exit stage left.
Bill can then start getting prepped for the next round of OAD’s, take in a little golf, do a guest appearance on tourney coverages via the vast TNT/ESPN network ensembles, & not really have to be like Kelvin Sampson & worry that the NCAA is tracking facebook, twitter, linkedin or cell phone calls any longer. Oh, he can take a warm & fuzzy family vacation with the wife & kids, then continue to follow the Thunder blunder another post season while thinking “Hey I could be there, doing that, with the best one on one player in the L, & I have a full season of experience with exactly the same rusults.” Come to think of it, I guess maybe he is qualified after all.
This is all complete sarcasm & no malice intended. Just like Popeye, we’ve just got what we’ve got & that’s all that we’ve got.
@RockChalkinTexas Gone where with what parameters?
@jaybate 1.0 Wiggins being show cased is not a problem for me.
I just don’t get how poeple can one week say he’s not aggressive enough or he disappears at times. Then turn around and jump all over him for only having two assist.
I’m all about the team concept in basketball. I loved the Lakers v Celtics in the 80’s cause they won and lost as teams. I like KU because it’s never been just about one player.
What wiggins did yesterday in my eyes was he took it personally and tried to will his team to a win. Down 27 and no timeouts left, playing your third string PG your post players are in foul trouble and no one can play D. Yet he didn’t quit until he fouled out. He played solid D yesterday, not great but he did a good job.
He took on the work load that wasn’t there due to Embid not there. hOw many games have they combined for 41 this year? Sometimes a player steps up and plays like that cause he needs to.
Was he being show cased? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t really seem like a Coach Self thing to do. I think he realized if he let him go they had a chance. I think Wiffins scored 12 straight for KU at one point and then Mason tried to drive the paint and turned it over at the FT line for a WV run out. Other’s weren’t getting the job done. Seldon couldnt hit anything late our bigs were ridiculously missing layup bunnies and dunks. Fankamp couldn’t hit anything either.
So do you just lay down and take a beating or do you let someone try and carry you to the the top?
@JRyman-Great take on Wigs. He’ll be a real special guy in the L someday, & flat out showed ZERO quit. Very few others played a lick & he did what he had to do. And just turning 19 a few days ago, still has years of physical maturity ahead of him. If Joel is damaged goods & no longer the 1st pick, Wigs is right there in the shadow. I don’t agree that he doesn’t make his team mates better-they do a really piss poor job of making themselves better for him more over. On days like yesterday, OSU, Fla, & SDSU I think some of those kids couldn’t play a flippin radio, let alone compliment the best single talent in CBB. JM PO’ed opinion.
@globaljaybird This team’s problem is not weak guard play, poor defense, or whatever else that has been discussed.
It is their lack of intensity and energy that has caused them to lose games. If you think that Nadiir was playing with full intensity yesterday, watch the game against Texas and Oklahoma.
The only reason why they would lose before the Final Four is playing unfocused and sloppy.
RockChalkinTexas last edited by
@JRyman WV. Did Huggy even try to recruit him? My point is how can the fans be so down on Andrew for not picking WV when they weren’t even in the mix?
Player A: 36 min 17-25 FGM-FGA 5-7 3PM-PA 6-9 FTM-FTA 2 OReb 5 DReb 2 assist 0 Steals 0 Blocks 3 TOs 1 PF 45 total points.
Player B: 39 min 12-18 FGM-FGA 2-5 3PM-3PA 15-19FTM-FTA 4 OReb 4 DReb 2 assist 5 Steals 4 Blocks 4 TOs 5 PF 41 Total points
Who would you take just looking at those numbers? 68% from the field vs 66%. 71% from 3 vs 40% from 3. 66% ft vs 78%ft just to ad to those numbers listed above. Don’t just look at the offensive numbers look at them all.
bskeet last edited by
Who would you take just looking at those numbers?
@JRyman B here too. although the TOs are not good.
If you chose player B you picked Wiggins in a game KU lost.
Player A is Doug McDermott of Creighton on his last home game as a Blue Jay against a Providence team that had beaten them earlier in the year.
They say it for the same reason Self and others note it: because at times he is not aggressive and disappears, when trying to play within the offense.
I understand your consternation. Its like people are doubting his character, or his handler’s intentions, when he plugs into the offense, and call him a ball hog when he takes over the game like people want him to.
And I suspect that Andrew Wiggins sometimes views it exactly as you do and with even more frustration.
But what people don’t understand, and what Andrew is only beginning to grasp, is that playing basketball in a team framework involves mastering a continuum of activity ranging from individual impact to selfless glue and back again over and over and over, possession after possession, and pass after pass, while playing at a high level of intensity with serious competitiveness.
It is not just about guardian on one end, keeping the ball from sticking, and periodically winding up from 28 feet out front and making an arcing three step drive that opponents are helpless to stop without denying him his strong hand, or if he lets up a little muscling him into missing, or failing those fouling hell out of him.
To become a good basketball player in a team framework requires learning again, at each level of play, and on each team, with each set of teammates and starters and subs rotated in with you how to read what the offense needs from you to keep flowing from once set of actions, within an opportunity set of actions, to the next during a possession until the the hoped for shot opportunity, or go get a basket opportunity, manifests. This is IMHO one of the hardest things to master in sport. Mastery of this insight–of being able to be within the flow of the offense, and at the same time to see it omnisciently as if from above–to be able to know when to enable its flow and to know when to capitalize on its flow–is one of the most remarkable fetes in sport.
Hitting a baseball in fair territory 40% of the time against big league pitching probably is, as Ted Williams said, probably the toughest individual skill to achieve in all of sport.
But learning to play inside and outside the flow of basketball is the single hardest “spatial insight” to gain in all of sport. There are persons that can never gain the insight. The young men you see on a D1 court on a good team that flows fluidly through its offensive actions, not mechanically, or awkwardly, but fluidly and effectively to desirable made shots are extremely rare human beings in the grand scheme. And many of them, no matter their talent levels, struggle with gaining and maintaining the insight. We notice the ones with great talent struggling to gain the insight more, precisely because they seem so awesomely talented in their individual skills and athleticisms.
The truth is that what you are perceiving as harshly and unfairly judging Andrew Wiggins–putting him in a box where he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t–is nothing more than observing that one of the game’s great talents recently is struggling with the gaining of this dynamic spatial and strategic insight.
It is not a character flaw in Andrew Wiggins that prevents him from knowing how to master the simultaneity of staying plugged into and offense and staying aggressive and taking over games. It is a developmental process that he will achieve over time. Kobe Bryant struggled mightily for two season trying to figure out how to do it in the NBA, and probably for another 3 as a starter. And Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Wilt Chamberlain struggled with it endlessly. It wasn’t just that Wilt often had less talent around him. He didn’t always. He was so phenomenally gifted physically that there was then no blue print for knowing how to plug his talents into an offense without completely overwhelming its integration. Wilt finally figure it out with a brilliant man he could trust–Alex Hannum. And he later perfected it under a man–Bill Sharman–who had learned team play from the greatest professional coach of all time–Red Auerbach–and the greatest NBA big man team player of all time–Bill Russell.
It should not be surprising that Andrew Wiggins might be the hardest working human being on the planet, best teammate, and perhaps the most gifted young player since Lebron, that he might struggle with acquiring dynamic spatial insight in his first season of D1.
It does not mean he is a ball hog. It does not mean he is dogging it until draft day and avoiding injury. Even the greatest pianist in history has to learn how to play with an orchestra of mere mortals of sound and well trained talent.
It means that he is still finding the way to modulate in fine gradations and in real time against a new level of defenders how to transition between impact and glue and back again, how to see who can be made better from his position and who cannot be, and so on.
And for me to say that he can score 41 on a phenomenal night of shooting, but only get two assists in a meaningless loss is not to damn him at all. It is to say as of yesterday, he still does not know how to transcend his team’s problems with his incomparably great individual play. It is to master the obvious, not to attack him. It is to say that if Embiid cannot come back for the remainder of the season, Self may in fact have to repeat this experiment a couple more times in the B12 tourney, knowing full well that doing so could get the team beat the second round, because Andrew has NOT been trained to take over the team and help it win with him largely running the offense.
What was learned in Morgantown is that this guy can hang 40 playing largely individually in a game starting basically with about 10 to go in the first half and by inference that he would be capable of 60 if the need arose and he were played through exclusively from the beginning; that’s how good Andrew Wiggins is.
But what was revealed was that he still doesn’t have the intuitive insight to do this sort of thing and keep his teammates engaged and involved in an effective way. Michael Jordan never was even asked to do this in college and didn’t figure out how to do it until well into his 3rd or 4th season in the L.
Why does this matter?
Because good teams beat great individual efforts, no matter if the individual is a great player like Andrew Wiggins, who is genuinely trying (and struggling) with how to master this aspect of the game, or if they are jerkish ball hog, which he most certainly is not.
To play the game at any level and to struggle to merge into the flow of a basketball team, but then to finally make the transition, at any level, in any role, is to understand perfectly what Andrew Wiggins is up against, only at an exponentially higher level of complexity and intensity of competition.
Asking Andrew in March to take over the team and lead it to a ring now, after having basically said it was his job to just learn to be the world’s most dangerous second option, in March, is IMHO asking the impossible of Andrew.
But here is the thing.
Self has a history of putting players in uncomfortable situations, and the level of discomfort he afflicts them with is often directly proportional to how good they are.
So: if Self knows that Embiid is a serious question mark for the Madness, I don’t doubt a bit that he would foist this on him now.
But no one has produced any quotes or medical opinions leading us to suspect that Embiid is out for the durations, or only minimally capable, when he comes back.
So: until I hear some signal to that effect, the most probable logical thing that happened during the WVU game was either:
1.) Self pulled Tharpe and flushed him permanently to create a situation in which to force Wiggins out of his own personality and into being able to take over a team while plugged into it; or
- Self decided the team sucked so badly that there was no point to try to win the game and so he decided to give Andrew a point padding game that would elevate the chances of a very good kid that has tried all season long to fit into the team of getting back into the hype-osphere of consideration for the Number One slot in the draft.
Since Andrew did not show many signs of making his teammates better with his dazzling display of offensive prowess, and since Self early on seriously seemed to be trying to get the team to play as a team, I decided on Option 2 as being the most probable explanation of what happened.
In any case, let’s dispense with this nonsense that I am trashing Andrew Wiggins, or implying anything improper, or in anyway doing anything but mastering the obvious after a great individual performance mired in a pitiful team performance.
@jaybate 1.0 #3. Andrew Wiggins played his a$$ off cause he wanted to win!
@jaybate 1.0 I understand the team concept of basketball as I played for four years varsity HS and 1 year NAIA ball. I am also a coaches son so I have been taught and coached my whole life about team and that concept.
With that being said, is it really AW’s responsibility to make his teammates better when they have already disappeared from the game. Is he to pass the ball to a cold Seldon who was throwing up bricks? Was he to pass on an open 3 and throw it to Black who was missing dunks?
Until I hear coach Self say he was just trying to highlight Andrew for the NBA I won’t buy it.
There are times when AW misses the open man when he drives, but yesterday that wasn’t the case, he wasn’t taking bad shots to get 41 points. As I stated above he shot 61% from the field.
AW is a team player and he has showed it all year, yesterday in a loss he showed that he could carry this team when nothing, absolutely nothing else was working for them. He didn’t fold, he didn’t bluff, he went all in and tried to win the game.
I have said many times that Micheal Jordan passed the ball out the either Kerr or Paxton for big shots, but everybody remembers him for the right to left hand lay-up vs the Lakers, or his shot of Ehlo or his 63 against the Celtics. But he too was a team player, thats how he won titles. But he also knew when he had to take over a game and do what ever it took to try and win it.
I am not comparing AW to MJ, just situational settings, but what Isaw yesterday was not a kid showing off for the NBA scouts, but trying to make his team win.
What is so wrong with that? Maybe everyone that thinks he was selfish should look at the other players on the court with him and see what they did or didn’t do? Again it’s a team sport a game where you win or lose as a team and what he was trying yesterday was to carry them to victory as the others waited for the ride.
If this team is not weak guard play, poor defense, or whatever else has been discussed (getting out rebounded), then Self should quit recruiting guards at all, quit teaching defense, tell all his players to release after shots, and ignore whatever else has been said.
Of course this team had poor guard play that would have made Andrew’s great offensive performance occur in a win. Of course this team played such poor defense that it got down by a huge margin and so determined that Andrew’s great performance would occur in a losing cause. Of course, this team needed to rebound better and whatever else has been discussed.
The team has at times played with great intensity and at times played without it, the team has played competitively and not. No matter what the above shortcomings are deleterious to the performance of the team. It needs to play with more intensity and competitiveness, but without the defense, without the rebounding, without skilled guard play on both ends, great intensity and competitiveness will be as wasted as playing without great intensity and competitiveness wastes the other virtues. Many things are half the battle. We are interested in the whole battle. We want competitiveness and good guard play. We want good defensive commitment and intensity. We want rebounding and whatever else has been talked about along with intensity and competitive fire. A good team needs all of the above.
I used to agree with you completely, but over the course of the season I have come to view the team as having great talent and holes in talent, great skills and holes in skills, inconsistent intensity but sometimes great intensity, and competitive fire almost absent in the beginning that is beginning to manifest intermittently.
The team is so young it does not do any singly thing uniformly and consistently well across across all rotation players. Its infuriating, but how it is.
Self never used to put the heels of his palms on his eye sockets in former years the way he does this season so often.
Bill Self has aged this season.
I never really saw him age in a single season before.
It shows in his words.
This team is taking a great toll on him, because he has finally asked himself to do what he has always asked his players to do. He has stepped entirely out of his comfort level.
Some thing great could alchemically occur as a result, just as happens occasionally with players asked to do it.
But it may take a season or two.
If he does throw his rug on the floor and walk off never to return.
Everyone wants to win.
All the time.
That means nothing to say that.
Niko Roberts wants to win every time he steps on the floor.
He wanted the bucks.
Everyone wants the bucks.
Not everyone has a chance to use point padding to move back up into the top of the NBA draft.
He also wanted to prove to the world that he wasn’t the over hyped underachiever so many have judged him to be.
He didn’t start out playing like gang busters yesterday.
It began after the chorus of ridicule that was being heaped on him in his own adopted state.
There was apparently some kind of a pact made by Self and him after Tharpe was banished to a parallel universe and Black had to sit and Perry and Jam Tray could play okay, but not control the boards. The pact was apparently: just take over and see what you can do. Forget about plugging in and running the stuff. Just do what you can do.
Wiggins was listening to people in the stands ridicule him mercilessly.
Some combination of that plus good biorhythms or something propelled him to a great individual offensive performance.
He didn’t score 41 because he wanted to win.
He wants to win every game.
Everyone that plays basketball does.
@jaybate 1.0 sorry, you have your opinion, I have mine.
@DinarHawk-How can you give up 90 points to a team with 14 losses, making them look like all stars & not admit that the entire flippin team played poor defense? Unless they win out the Big 12 in KC, they will not even get an at large bid to the dance-no team ever has with 15 losses. If these guys think a 30-40 game college schedule is too much to “get up” for games vs lesser teams, then damn few will be picking up a paycheck for playing pro ball anywhere, South America, Israel, Europe, the D league-anywhere. Contracts are not secure at all in foreign ball. One or two gooseggs, & done. No job, no pay.Also, guard play is the key to an inside out hi lo game, so respectfully many others would say what is obvious, just as as I did. Hell Stevie Wonder could see it. If Tharpe was not 100% he should be on the bench-that’s where his rear was for 24min. Nuff said.
@DinarHawk-So tell us what that is? Apathy?
@globaljaybird Could be.
All I am pointing out is a simple observation that their level of defense and guard play is directly dependent on their intensity level. This has been true the entire time Bill Self has been here.
wissoxfan83 last edited by
Oh boy I’d love to read all of these and respond, but I have not the time. I’ll say this. We sucked, but we sucked without the potential #1 draft pick playing and it turned our defense to mush.
We sucked. Wiggins as you point out had kind of an incongrous stat line, but it still was amazing to watch, no matter what the reason for it.
No more hostile crowds to play in front of. We’re not tough enough for it, that’s a plus. Let’s back up our conference title with a tourney win and then 6 more games, unless we’re in the playin game, then 7
JayHawkFanToo last edited by JayHawkFanToo
I agree with @Crimsonorblue22, to concentrate in Wiggins 2 assists and nothing else is absolutely and unadulterated BS.
First, no one else other than Perry was consistently scoring and chances are that Coach Self told him to take any available jumper or drive to the hoop and score or draw the foul. If he does this without the coach’s approval he would be sitting on the bench; he has before.
Second, Wigging plays the 3 and his job is to score, rebound and get to the line as much as he can; assists are not his responsibility, you have other players charged to do that. Wiggins shot 12-18 or 66%, the rest of the team 16-44 or 36%; why would coach Self ask him to pass when he had the hot hand and shooting 30% higher than the rest of the team? it makes no sense.
Third, Just because he has only 2 assist DOES NOT MEAN HE DID NOT PASS THE BALL. An assist is recorded when the receiving players scores, if he doesn’t then no assist is recorded. Unlike other statistics, the assist is dependent on two players completing the task. Does any one have a count of the times he passed the ball and the receiving player did not score? He could pass the ball 2 times and the receiving players score both times and he ends up with two assists. Likewise, he could pass the ball 30 times and the receiving players score two times and he still ends up with two assists. Given the two choices and how well he was scoring and how poorly the rest of the team was, I am glad that he played like he did. Apparently Coach Self agrees with me as he indicated that yesterday Wiggins was the best player in the country.
To take one statistic out of context and and present it as fact is nuts. Again, his job is to be at the receiving end of an assist not a the passing end. He makes the team better by scoring after receiving the pass and not by making a pass that might go to waste.
JayHawkFanToo last edited by
You have to consider that yesterday, WVU shot/played well,well above its season average.
FG - vs. KU = ,529, season = .443
3 Pts - vs. KU = .563, season = .386
FT - vs KU = .725, season = .725
RPG - vs. KU = 37, season = 36
APG - vs. KU = 15, season - 13
Steals - vs. KU = 7, season = 6
Blocks - vs. KU = 3, season = 3
TO - vs. KU = 13, season = 10
In the fist half the shooting percentages were even higher. Turnovers is the only statistic that was worse than the season average; all the others were better. Sometimes a team gets hot and shoots/plays well above its average; yesterday was one of those days.
@DinarHawk-Then maybe some of these guys can get part-time playing jobs after their KU days are over? Sounds like several resumes should be up to that.
@jaybate 1.0 until next one!
VailHawk last edited by
@wissoxfan83 Great point about no more hostile crowds…I hadn’t thought of that. These pups will play better in our quasi-home in KC and neutral courts in the madness. I hope these pups take every possession SERIOUSLY from here on out! This isn’t AAU where you get to play five games a day and shrug off a loss in 15 min…
There are more straw arguments in this thread than what comes out the back end of a combine.
Straw Argument One: someone focused on Wigs assists and nothing else.
Fortunately, no one here focused on Wigs 2 assists and nothing else.
Straw Argument Two: Wigs was bashed.
Fortunately, no one here bashed Wigs either.
Yeeeeeee Hawwwww, I do love it when there are enough straw arguments to stuff a comforter.
Confuciusbate say: straw arguments tend to fly, when biases are exposed and logic masking them won’t fly.
God help me, I do love exposing biases so…