Earlier this week the 76ers signed Joel Embiid to a five-year, $148 million extension. Soon after, the Timberwolves announced they had signed Andrew Wiggins to a similar deal.
What kind of risk are we talking about here? Joel Embiid has only played in 31 games since being drafted while Wiggins’ performance last year earned him the title of least defensive player in the league.
Who is really the biggest risk?
Wiggins doesn’t put out effort on defense and, although he developed into an elite scorer last year, was inefficient. His plus/minus was -1.6. Many placed Jordan like or “the next big thing” expectations on this kid and he hasn’t quite lived up to that. There are worse things than having a 24 point scorer on your team, but is that worth $148M over 5 years? Apparently to the Timberwolves it does. I guess they forgot they have the big KAT.
On the other hand, there’s Joel Embiid. Coming out of Kansas he was getting comparisons to Hakeem. He’s provided a small sample size, but he’s the type of generational player that any team would want. Only problem is, he can’t seem to stay on the court. 31 games in 3 seasons. I hope Embiid doesn’t turn out to be another Greg Oden, because I’m looking forward to seeing what he can become. During his short time on the court he’s been a force and he still hasn’t hit his ceiling.
Wiggins, on the other hand, seems to have shown us who he will ultimately be. A high volume scorer. Not efficient. Doesn’t play defense. Sound like someone you already know? Carmelo Anthony’s real plus/minus last year was 0.12. Nothing wrong with being compared to Carmelo, but, just like Melo, Wiggins won’t bring you championships. It might seem unfair to place that label on him after just only turning 22 – and maybe he will develop into something more – but Andrew Wiggins does seem to be the next coming… of Carmelo Anthony.
The team that had NO choice in signing their player to an extension was Philadelphia. If the Timberwolves didn’t sign Andrew Wiggins, they wouldn’t be under as much pressure because they have a real generational type player of their own in Karl-Anthony Towns. KAT is the guy Minnesota must sign if they want to be relevant. Having Wiggins along helps, but high volume scorers are much easier to find around the league than are players like Towns. With the environment being what it is when it comes to NBA contracts, this extension will be seen as a bargain, even if Wiggins’ game doesn’t evolve past it’s current form.
I’ll take $148M to not fulfill my potential too. Where do I sign up?