BOSTON – When it came to passing along knowledge of the NBA game to young players, former Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett never held back; that is unless they didn’t want to listen.
Now back in Minnesota (the Celtics traded him along with Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in 2013), Garnett found a roster full of willing pupils ready to embrace all the many lessons he had to offer.
And at the top of that class was Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in last June’s NBA draft and this year’s Rookie of the Year.
Wiggins, who averaged a rookie-best 16.9 points per game this season, received 110 of the 130 first-place votes and finished with a total of 604 points. The rookie of the year runner-up was Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic who had 14 first-place votes and totaled 335 points. Rounding out the top three was Philadelphia big man and Everett, Mass. native Nerlens Noel. Celtics guard Marcus Smart finished fifth in the voting.
Upon returning to his hometown of Toronto on Saturday, Wiggins was met by several journalists at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
During an interview with the media which reportedly lasted about four minutes, the 20-year-old Wiggins touched on several topics, including the many lesson he learned from Garnett.
“His presence was just felt on and off the court, even the games where he wasn’t playing and he was on the bench,” Wiggins told reporters. “You still felt his presence on the court. His intensity just rubs off on you.”
Among the more memorable lessons?
“You’ve got to find your pace in the game, never rush anything,” Wiggins recalled. “It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon.”