Winning a championship seemed far out of reach for Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota. The Timberwolves made only one temporary playoff appearance during his five and a half seasons with the team and he was widely viewed as a disappointment after being the No. 1 pick within the 2014 draft.
Wiggins’ fortunes modified with a trade to Golden State in 2020, and the Canadian native was capable of bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy with him this weekend to point out participants at youth basketball camps in his hometown, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.
“There’s been numerous ups and downs, numerous people had counted me out,” Wiggins said, “but to be back and … winning a championship? All of the sacrifices, all of the ups and downs, all of the stuff was price it. It makes the story that a lot better.”
Wiggins played a vital role in helping the Warriors win that trophy, particularly within the NBA Finals against the Celtics. He was the team’s second-leading scorer within the six-game series at 18.3 PPG and the leading rebounder at 8.8 RPG.
Although he’s finally getting recognition across the league, Wiggins said he never doubted his abilities.
“Once I step on the court, I’ve all the time been confident in what I can do,” he said. “Once I was in Minnesota, I put up numbers. But people said, ‘He put up numbers on a foul team.’ So, I am going to Golden State and I’m not scoring as much, but I’m doing rather a lot at a more efficient rate, so the entire world gets to see.”
Wiggins credits a robust support group with helping him get through the tough times, starting along with his parents, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and ex-Olympic track star Marita Payne. He also has a big fanbase within the Vaughan and Mississauga area, especially after returning home as a champion.
“It’s been a special variety of summer, but the perfect summer of my life,” Wiggins said. “It’s been amazing coming down here and feeling all this love and positivity. It’s been great. Just with the ability to bring the trophy back home to where it began for me … where all my family and friends are that helped me get to the place where I’m at now.”