MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Wiggins, with the departure of Ricky Rubio, takes the helm as the Wolves’ most polarizing player. He may be the most divisive player in the NBA. Hell, Zach Lowe tweeted it.
Max or no max? Superstar in the making or just a good player? Eventual GOAT or, like, only top three GOAT? OK, maybe that last one is my internal debate. I love Andrew Wiggins, and his imminent five-year, $148 million deal has me feeling peachy.
Others don’t agree, and I understand their concerns. He’s young and has not proven much other than his elite ability to score, though as Aaron Brooks reminded us earlier in the day, ”Well, scoring is important.” His defense hasn’t been up to snuff compared to what was expected, and there are other holes in his game after three seasons. There is no question about that.
I’ll tell you though, there’s one person who is not concerned and that man is Andrew Wiggins. He was cool as a cucumber today at Wolves Media Day and I enjoyed his presser quite a bit.
How’s the new roster going to work?
Here’s the first thing he had to say today when asked about the new roster:
“I think we made a lot of major changes for the better. Me and Jimmy are gonna be a problem on both the offensive side and defensive side. Him coming here and bringing his attitude, he brings defense, offense, playmaking. He’s a proven player, an All-Star, so it’s a major move for us.”
Daaang, Andrew. I love that he immediately gets to his opinion on what we all want to hear, what’s it going to be like with Jimmy? Some have voiced concerns about spacing as the team still lacks depth in three-point shooting talent. I gravitate to the more salivating thought of how defenses are going to stop both of these players. It’s good to see Wiggins is excited about it too.
He noted that things will be a lot easier if Jimmy draws the opposing team’s best defenders, but it was fair to ask how the two will compliment each other:
“I feel we’re both unselfish players, he likes to pass the ball and I like to pass the ball, we both wanna win and that’s the main thing.”
Hmmm. I don’t think Andrew is selfish, but Jimmy has proven to be a top-notch playmaker from the wing. While Wiggins has shown flashes of playmaking, I am not sure he truly ‘likes’ to pass the ball. Still, it was nice to see him acknowledge the truest thing in that they both want to win, a common theme from everyone throughout the day.
Later he was asked if being the first option in clutch situations was important to him:
“It depends how the game goes. Obviously, I think I am a great scorer, offensively I am a great weapon. I think of myself as a number one option, and I know other guys probably think the same things about themselves too. It’s not in a selfish way, it’s more a way in believing what I can do.”
It’s been clear since he arrived in Minnesota that Wiggins is a very confident guy. This summer he stated he’s definitely a max-contract player. He believes in himself and that’s a good thing, but he understands that this is still a team game.
The New Deal
He was obviously asked about his max deal and how he felt:
“Yeah, I feel good about it. We have until the day before the regular season so that would mean no rush but I feel good about it.”
On why it hasn’t been completed yet when the terms are pretty much cut and dry:
“Yeah it’s a pretty simple contract. But you always want to take your time with stuff like that. It’s a contract, there’s no going back. Take your time, there’s no rush.”
There is a risk that he gets injured in the time before he completes the deal but he was unfazed by that:
“I’ve missed one game in three years. I feel like I am not too worried about getting injured right now, you know, more just grinding, working hard for the team, getting better.”
Like I said, Andrew was very relaxed throughout his time with the media. When asked if he thought the deal would change him, he assured us that he is the ‘same guy, same mood’ as he laughed. In fact, his contract was brought up to multiple guys throughout the day and most said the same thing.
Here’s what KAT had to say on if AW will change:
“I think that it doesn’t really matter. Andrew is a competitor. He’s a man who wants to win. He wants to put on for Canada. I don’t think Maple Jordan is going to have a problem this year signing that contract which he rightfully deserves. He’s a max player and getting that contract won’t stop him from achieving the goals he has set on himself which is being one of the best players in the NBA.”
Here’s what Butler had to say:
“You can’t let that money change the way you go about the game. You’ve still got to work like the first day of your rookie deal. And good for him, he deserves it for what he’s done in this league, what he’s done for this team and organization. He’s worked incredibly hard and he’s going to continue to do that for a very, very long time. I think he’s gonna be fine, that money’s not gonna change him. It’s gonna change his life and his family’s life, but he’s still gonna be the same person.”
Glen Taylor caused a little stir when he announced he wanted to meet with Andrew to speak to him personally before offering the deal this summer. It was a bit odd to tell the media that since you could just personally ask Andrew to meet you in person. Maybe give him a call?
Either way, it’s a fair ask. By signing this, Wigs will be one of the highest paid players in the league. Andrew was asked if he had a specific reaction to Glen’s request:
“No big reaction. It was simple, ‘OK’. He’s offering all that money he can do whatever he wants to do.”
Andrew laughed at this one. It was good to see him not make a big deal out of the entire ordeal. He said they have met a couple times and that things went well.
Overall, Wiggins was very comfortable throughout his time today. He’s been working hard this summer, which is something that Thibs commented on, and it sounds like he’s ready to continue that this year. I am excited to see what’s to come next. Was there ever a doubt that Wiggins would be here for a long time?
“Never, no doubt. Minnesota has been good to me. They’ve been loyal, trustworthy, and they committed. With that contract, that means they’re committed and they want me here, so, I wanna do the same.”
- Wiggins was asked how he felt about Zach LaVine’s departure: “It was tough to see Zach go, because he was my best friend on the team. But, Chicago, that’s a great opportunity for him. He has a chance to do something special over there, I know he’s excited and I’m excited for him.”
- Improving rebounding was his focus this season: “Working on my shot and my ball-handling but the main thing I’m going to focus on during the season is rebounding. That’s one thing I didn’t do as much last year or the previous year that I am going to try to do more of.”
- How many pounds did you add? “Ehhhh, five.” This was after Wiggins said he “thankfully” put on some weight this offseason.