Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins told his former college coach he hopes to be traded to Minnesota

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Andrew Wiggins has been put in an unusually difficult situation for a rookie, being immersed in trade rumors ever since being taken as the number one overall pick in this summer’s draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The selection of Wiggins came before LeBron James announced his decision to come to Cleveland as a free agent, which obviously changed the team’s outlook on the upcoming season.

With James in place, the Cavaliers went from a rebuilding, borderline playoff team in the East to one that could potentially contend for a title, and do so immediately — which means that acquiring proven All-Star talent in trade takes precedence over waiting for a newly-drafted rookie to reach his potential.

That brings us back to Wiggins, who in all likelihood will be headed to Minnesota as part of the deal that will bring Kevin Love to the Cavaliers.

It would be easy for him to feel slighted in some way, like he isn’t considered good enough to even play a small role on a team that’s expected to compete for a championship. But Wiggins is taking the high road, choosing to believe that the situation in Minnesota will be better for his long-term prospects.

From The Associated Press (via Sporting News):

Andrew Wiggins told Kansas coach Bill Self that he wants to be traded from Cleveland to Minnesota because the No. 1 overall pick believes it will be better for his long-term future. …

When all this trade stuff started, I talked to Andrew and Andrew told me, “I hope I get traded,” Self said. “And I’m like, ‘No you don’t.’ And he said, “Coach, I do. It’s better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I’m forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they’re going to be patient with me and I’m going to be a piece.” …

“Even though in a weird way everybody would love the opportunity to play with LeBron because you’re guaranteed winning,” Self said, “for the longevity of his career, he needs to develop that mindset to be the guy, for him to be great, and I think being Minnesota will help him do that.”

Wiggins backed up this sentiment with a post to his Instagram account on Saturday.

“I’m here to beat the odds that was set against me, wished the worst luck to anyone who bet against me,” the caption read.

Wiggins is essentially using this turn of events as motivation to succeed before his NBA career has even gotten started, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He will be forced into action much more quickly in Minnesota than he would have been in Cleveland, and he knows better than anyone if that’s going to be the best thing for him in terms of his personal and professional development.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.