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What if Andrew Wiggins never came to Kansas?

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Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins hangs his head while heading to the bench after a string of Jayhawk turnovers against Villanova during the first half on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins hangs his head while heading to the bench after a string of Jayhawk turnovers against Villanova during the first half on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas. by Nick Krug

By now, it seems as if most Kansas University basketball fans have given up the stance — if they ever took it — that KU freshman Andrew Wiggins has been underwhelming.

At this point, Wiggins has produced enough, both offensively and defensively, and on a consistent enough basis to be classified as this team's best player.

The 6-foot-8, 200-pound phenom leads the team with a 16.3 points-per-game average, is first in minutes played (904) by more than two full games, ranks third with 5.8 rebounds per game, third in assists (45), second in blocks (25), first in steals (29) and has attempted the most shots (145-of-324), most free throws (132-of-174) and second most three-pointers (35-of-98) while also owning the unofficial title of the team's best defensive player.

So forget whether he's disappeared for 10-minute spurts here and there or that he doesn't dunk it enough or finish consistently when he attacks the basket. None of that matters. What Wiggins has delivered has been nothing short of amazing, especially when taking into account the insane expectations that followed him to Lawrence and how well he has done at both handling those and inserting himself into the locker room as just another one of the guys.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins gets up for a dunk over Kansas State guard Marcus Foster during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins gets up for a dunk over Kansas State guard Marcus Foster during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

It's genuine, too, by the way. There is no ego here. Wiggins is not all about Wiggins. In fact, he seems most comfortable during interviews when he's being asked about teammates or something other than himself.

All of this got me thinking.... What if Wiggins never came to Kansas? What if he picked Florida State or Kentucky or North Carolina last May and left the Jayhawks to fend for themselves with the roster they already had? First of all, KU would have been just fine, even without the steady dose of highlight-reel dunks, long arms on defense and lightning fast strides in transition.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins drives to the bucket against New Mexico guard Deshawn Delaney during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins drives to the bucket against New Mexico guard Deshawn Delaney during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

But would Bill Self's bottom line have remained the same? Would the players who absorbed Wiggins' minutes — and it likely would have been several of them — have been able to produce the same results?

It's not likely. But here's a look.

(Note: I realize it's fully possible that Self might have scrambled to add another rotation guy had Wiggins chosen to go to school somewhere else, but, for the sake of this blog, we're going to say that Self would've had to move on with the roster he had.)

Kansas head coach Bill Self gives some direction to Andrew Wiggins during the second half on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gives some direction to Andrew Wiggins during the second half on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For this exercise, I've divvied up Wiggins' minutes to the five most likely Jayhawks who would have seen an uptick in playing time if the Canadian never came to town.

Here's how the numbers translated.

• G BRANNEN GREENE •
Increase in minutes: 40% or 362 minutes
Current points per minute average: 0.38
Projected additional points: 138

• PG FRANK MASON •
Increase in minutes: 30% or 272 minutes
Current points per minute average: 0.36
Projected additional points: 98

• G CONNER FRANKAMP •
Increase in minutes: 10% or 90 minutes
Current points per minute average: 0.29
Projected additional points: 26

• PF JAMARI TRAYLOR •
Increase in minutes: 10% or 90 minutes
Current points per minute average: 0.29
Projected additional points: 26

• G ANDREW WHITE III •
Increase in minutes: 10% or 90 minutes
Current points per minute average: 0.43
Projected additional points: 38

As you can see, the difference between the total points produced by these five players in Wiggins' absence (326) and the number of points Wiggins has tallied in those same minutes (457) would have dropped KU's overall total by 131 points and lowered its per-game average from 79.8 points per game (with Wiggins) to 75.1 points per game (without Wiggins).

Given that KU has won three games by fewer than five points this season — 67-63 over UTEP in the Bahamas; 80-78 over Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse; and 64-63 over Texas Tech in Lubbock — you could make a case that Wiggins picking another school would have cost the Jayhawks at least three victories.

If that were true, not only would a 10th straight Big 12 regular season title still be up in the air, the Jayhawks, at 19-9 instead of 22-6, would be staring more at a seed in the 3-5 range in the upcoming NCAA Tournament instead of sitting in their current position where they appear to be close to a lock as a 2 and still alive for a 1.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins delivers on a lob dunk against TCU during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins delivers on a lob dunk against TCU during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

All of this is purely speculative, of course, and there's no telling how things would have played out had Wiggins not worn crimson and blue this season. Maybe Brannen Greene would've been an instant star. Maybe another prospect would have taken the spot and filled the role admirably. Of course, this does not take into account all of the ways Wiggins' defense has impacted KU's win-loss record or the fact that, when playing more minutes, the points-per-minute number of the five guys mentioned above might actually have gone down or up.

Either way, it's a pretty compelling case for something I'm guessing we all know anyway — Wiggins has had a fantastic season and he is, without question, the MVP of the Big 12 this season.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins celebrates after delivering on a breakaway dunk against Kansas State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins celebrates after delivering on a breakaway dunk against Kansas State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

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