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Why Aaron Wiggins is the key to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Aaron Wiggins has not lost as a starter this year. His good blend of skills and athleticism makes him a perfect fit for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After Tuesday’s stunning 33-point win over Boston, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now 7-0 with Aaron Wiggins (no relation to Andrew Wiggins) as their starter this season. The team is 9-21 in other games.

as a coach Mark Denault notes, Just because Aaron is in the information circle doesn’t guarantee that Thunder will win. Wiggins is no hidden star, waiting to be launched into an unsuspecting league. But he He is The exact kind of player every winning team needs: an unselfish, energetic two-way player who is able to chase down opposing guards on defense while filling in gaps on offense.

Let’s start at the top. Wiggins +61 in 209 minutes as a start and was +13 or higher in five of his seven starts. According to the glass cleaning, Wiggins has the second best running option The difference between Thunder players who have played at least 500 minutes, as the team +5.1 points per 100 possessions is better with Wiggins on the ground than out.

Aaron’s per-game stats as a junior don’t jump off the page (he averaged 11.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists), but he posts impressive shooting splits of 53/39/85 percent, so he does his job without making mistakes (less than one turnover per game ).

Aaron Wiggins doesn’t take anything off the table for the Thunder

However, just looking at the stats blurs the picture; A deeper look at the movie provides clarity to the rose-tinted glasses of Thunder fans. There is almost nothing from Wiggins I can not an act.

Want to add a suffix on a smaller player (Ja Morant, no less?)? almost:

Although not a ball-player, Wiggins can break down slower players with ease:

Wiggins can drain 3s (though he was a little shy at times. Shoot away, Aaron!) and is active in the transition, using his speed and jumps to come out in the break with gusto. He’s even a good examiner, an average of 1.1 assist screens per game (more than any other non-major Thunder).

However, his biggest strength as an offensive player is being a cutter. Just over half of his shots come from the rimwhich is an awful lot for a small wing, and 64 percent of long-range dredges are assisted. On a team with many passers, like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, the ability to improvise and find space will be rewarded:

Wiggins himself is a good positional passer, and his specialty is drive offloading. It takes a cutter to feed a cutter, after all:

Wiggins, on the other hand, is an above-average defender, shutting down the opposing team’s best guards and regularly delivering clinics on the navigation screen. His 6-foot-11 wingspan provides a catch for some positioning errors, and he’s greatly improved his turning and helped on defense in his sophomore year (if anything, he might be a little overzealous).

Wiggins is a solid positional player (especially on the offensive end) despite standing at only 6-foot-5, thanks to his jump, pogo stick, and long arms:

All of this being said, Wiggins still has room for improvement. First, there are times when his aggression can wane. The Thunder are a team with a bit of spacing as they are, and it would be better at times with Wiggins to take the shot the defense gives them than to reset the offense again. He can also stand up to tighten his grip, though this is a long-term project. But I pick lice: Wiggins is a good, efficient two-way player who fits well with any number of Thunder formations.

OKC already has Shay and Josh Gede as primary coaches, and Alexei Bukoszewski (when he’s healthy), rookie rookie Jalen Williams, and Tree Man as secondary coaches. Shay and Josh, in particular, need smart, complementary offensive pieces and defensive assists on the front lines around them.

Add it all up, and Wiggins is the exact kind of fifth starter for a team like the Thunder that he needs. I hate the term “glue man,” but Wiggins’ winning qualities should help him stay in this league for a long time, starter or not.

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