Andrew Wiggins’ career didn’t get off to the start that many thought it would. The first overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft was a solid player with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he never lived up to the first overall pick billing that followed him wherever he went. Many wondered whether he had the drive to succeed in the NBA, and he was eventually dumped off to the Golden State Warriors at the trade deadline in 2020.
Fast forward two years, and Wiggins was arguably the second-best player on Golden State’s title-winning team in 2022. Steph Curry needed someone to help him on offense after carrying a considerable load early on in the Finals, and Wiggins did just that, helping the Warriors reclaim the throne as the best team in the league.
Wiggins’ growth over the past few seasons has been quite impressive
Wiggins’ path as a number one overall pick hasn’t been traditional, but he finally reached the top of the mountain with Golden State. It would have been hard to envision Wiggins being this important to the Warriors just a few years back when he struggled to find his role on a lost Timberwolves team.
Things were so bad for Wiggins that he was left off ESPN’s top 100 NBA players heading into the 2019-20 season. Given his lack of production, it was hard to argue with Wiggins being left off the list. Wiggins disagreed with his omission, claiming that there were not 100 players better than him in the league at that time in 2019.
“I don’t really look at that too much, top 100 or not top 100. There’s not 100 players better than me, so it doesn’t matter what people think. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My job is to come out here and hoop, and that’s what I’m going to do.” - Andrew Wiggins, ESPN.
Wiggins is undoubtedly one of the top 100 players in the NBA now
At the time, it was fair to laugh off Wiggins’ comments. He was playing poorly on one of the worst teams in the league. Minnesota ended up cutting their losses with Wiggins later that season and dumping him to the Warriors. It seemed inconsequential at the time, but it probably just won the Warriors a title.
After having no idea what his role was with Minnesota during his first six seasons, Wiggins settled in pretty quickly with the Warriors. He wasn’t going to have to score on every possession playing alongside Steph Curry, but when defenses focused on him, Wiggins was going to have to be able to create shots for himself to keep the offense humming.
Wiggins did just that, and rather than forcing his way to find offense, he let the offense come to him this season. It helped him earn his first All-Star selection, and his game gradually got more and more attention as the playoffs continued. With Curry dealing with an injury early on, and guys like Klay Thompson and Draymond struggling throughout the postseason, Wiggins was the one constant.
Wiggins isn’t the flashiest player ever, but he’s certainly one of the best in the league, and he’s finally getting the recognition he deserved. With his role finally established, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wiggins continue to improve and make his way up everyone’s list of the top players in the NBA.