Rapidly raising his draft stock throughout the pre-draft process, former Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins was selected No. 55 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2021 NBA Draft.
In recent weeks, Wiggins was projected to be a mid to late second-round pick. His notoriety with NBA teams rose after playing well at the G League Elite Camp, then receiving an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine.
The day before the draft, Wiggins told Glenn Clark Radio he was “extremely confident” he would hear his name called.
He is the seventh Maryland player to be selected in the last six years, joining former teammates Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando at the next level.
Now a member of the Thunder, Wiggins joins an organization in the early stages of a long-term rebuild with many young players. Headlining that young corps are guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort, as well as forward Darius Bazley and center Aleksej Pokusevski.
Wiggins’ addition adds another piece to a youthful roster, offering him the opportunity to immediately compete for minutes. Last season, the Thunder shot 33.9 percent from three, which was tied for the second lowest percentage in the league. The Thunder struggled offensively as a collective unit with a 102.8 offensive rating, the lowest in the NBA last season.
One of the leading scorers for the Terrapins last year, Wiggins offers versatility to help the Thunder’s offense in a variety of ways. During his three years in College Park, three-point shooting developed into one of the biggest strengths in his game.
The Greensboro, N.C., native showed the propensity to knock down both catch-and-shoot and spot-up threes. Additionally, Wiggins showed improvement as a passer, becoming more of a focal point offensively connecting with various big men in pick-and-roll situations.
Beyond his offensive prowess, standing at 6-foot-6, Wiggins’ length should help to improve the Thunder’s perimeter defense. At Maryland, he was often employed at the top of the team’s zone defense to jump passing lanes, creating transition opportunities.
Wiggins will join a larger Thunder draft class that features first-round selections guard Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers, Australia) and guard Tre Mann (Florida). Earlier in the second round, the Thunder selected former Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Wiggins will look to begin building chemistry with his teammates during the Summer League.
According to many pundits, the Thunder, led by second-year head coach Mark Daigneault, are projected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA next season, leaving Wiggins and his fellow rookies with ample opportunity for development.
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