Life is different for Andrew Wiggins with the Warriors.
During his six-plus seasons in Minnesota, Wiggins was heavily-criticized for not reaching the lofty ceiling that was set for him when he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Wiggins often was viewed as an empty-calories stats guy who had a big contract and didn't always bring effort and intensity on the defensive end.
All that has gone out the window as a member of the Warriors. Wiggins has been a perfect fit in Golden State. After scoring 23 points in the Warriors' 130-108 win over the Timberwolves on Monday, Wiggins explained what makes the two situations so different.
“It’s different because everything here is organized. You know what you’re doing every night,” Wiggins said after the win. “You know what you’re getting yourself into. You know the minutes you’re going to play, you know your rotation.
“There was a couple years like that in Minnesota where everything, you know everything. That was with Coach [Tom Thibodeau]. Thibs was very organized. Thibs was very clear, he was very straightforward. That’s one thing they do here. They’re very straightforward. They’re not going to sugarcoat nothing. There’s no trick questions, so it’s good.”
There's no doubt the Timberwolves gave Wiggins ample time to show he could be a star in Minnesota. He played 447 games for the Timberwolves before Minnesota elected to trade him for D'Angelo Russell.
Wiggins' talent never was the issue, and it's clear the Warriors are bringing out the best in the versatile wing.
“Andrew has filled a role here that was desperately needed,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Totally different role than what Minnesota was asking of him. I always say there’s maybe 10 or 15 players in the league who determine the circumstances on a team. The other 450 are victims or people who excel based on their circumstances. So I think with Andrew our circumstances are perfect.”
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After two disastrous games to start the season, Wiggins has been the picture of consistency for the Warriors, giving them a solid No. 2 scoring option next to Steph Curry while playing impressive defense on a nightly basis.
Life as a No. 1 pick can be difficult. Not all top picks are created equal, but it appears Wiggins has found a home and fit in the Bay.
“It’s not easy being a No. 1 pick and trying to carry a franchise,” Kerr said. “That’s only a job a select few can take on. I just think Andrew is in a good place. He’s doing everything we’ve asked and defensively he’s been fantastic. He’s a joy to coach, in a good rhythm on offense and a great addition to our team.”
Along with Wiggins, the Warriors got the rights to the Wolves' 2021 top-three protected first-round draft pick in the deal. The Wolves paid a tax to move off a 25-year-old with star upside in order to acquire Russell.
Wiggins believes the move worked out well for both sides, but it has become clearer every day that the Warriors got the better end of a trade that will have huge ramifications on the future of both franchises.