Andrew Wiggins will never be the era-defining NBA superstar he looked like as a teenage prodigy. After helping the Golden State Warriors win a championship, though, it’s safe to say Wiggins has fully shed the “bust” label that dogged him during his ill-fated time with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Only certain players in the league are good enough to scrape their utmost potential irrespective of surrounding circumstances. It’s no major criticism of Wiggins that he turned out not to be among them.
The Warriors didn’t only get the best basketball of Wiggins’ career during their title run by slotting him next to multiple future Hall-of-Famers, but holding him accountable in a manner he never was before.
“All those guys were very encouraging and motivating. Steph, Draymond, all them,” Wiggins said of Golden State’s veterans on The VC Show. “They all did a lot for me in a lot of different ways. One thing they all do is they all hold you accountable. When you do something wrong, they’re gonna get at you. But the thing that I love about them is that when you do it right, they’re gonna be the first people to come up to you and congratulate you. I feel like that goes a long way. They’ve taught me a lot on and off the court, so I cherish those guys.”
Wiggins was arguably the Warriors’ second-best player throughout the postseason, cementing himself as an elite on-ball defender while taking regular advantage of wholesale attention paid to Curry on the other end.
He saved his best performance for the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, hounding an exhausted Jayson Tatum into 31.4% shooting on two-pointers and leading Golden State with 8.8 rebounds per game—a gaudy number for a player infamously averse to crashing the glass. There was even a small push for Wiggins to receive Finals MVP honors after his 26-point, 13-board effort in the Warriors’ pivotal Game 5 victory.
Curry, obviously, was a fully deserving Finals MVP. Just being on the outside of that conversation marked a narrative coronation of sorts for Wiggins, though, one of the most criticized players in basketball before 2021-22.
With leaders like Curry and Green setting the tone, don’t be surprised if Andrew Wiggins takes his game to another level going forward, establishing himself as a Golden State fixture for years to come.