Sometimes all that's needed is a change of scenery.
Such is the case for Andrew Wiggins, who has started to resurrect his NBA career since the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the talented wing to the Warriors for D'Angelo Russell last February. For much of his early career, Wiggins was seen as an empty-calorie stats guy whose effort on the defensive end oscillated and whose lack of consistency frustrated fans.
As Wiggins and the Warriors prepare to face the Timberwolves in back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick looks back on the trade as a win for both sides.
"Looking back, I feel like [the trade] worked in the best favor for both teams," Wiggins told Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. "Golden State needed a wing that could defend and just play his game, and Minnesota -- they needed someone that could play with KAT, create with KAT, playmake. They needed a PG, you know?
"I feel like it worked out in the best favor for both."
The 25-year-old wing has been exactly what the Warriors needed this season. After two disastrous games to start the campaign, Wiggins has been the model of consistency on both ends of the floor, averaging 17.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
The Warriors' championship culture spearheaded by Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steve Kerr, has helped transform Wiggins into the type of player many believed he could become.
"Just changed my mindset defensively," Wiggins said of the Warriors. "I feel like I was a good defender in Minnesota, but here I'm just being more aggressive. Picking up full court. Pressuring. Trying to block everything."
While some might view Wiggins' time in Minnesota in a negative light, the Kansas product has nothing but good feelings toward his former team and is happy that his time with the Timberwolves ended in a ticket to The Bay.
"It's part of the business. It's never personal …" Wiggins told Hines. "It's all love with those guys. We had special moments. We had good times together, but this is all just part of the business. They sent me to a good situation. You know, if they would've sent me to a [bad] situation, then it would've been, 'All right.'
"But they sent me to a great situation, so I'm thankful for that."
As part of the deal to acquire Wiggins, the Warriors also landed the Wolves' top-three protected first-round pick in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022 if the Wolves keep the pick this season.
The Timberwolves have struggled out of the gate this season and sit at 4-11 through 15 games. Thanks to the flattened lottery odds, Minnesota sinking to the bottom of the league will give the Warriors a good chance at landing a high pick in a loaded draft.