Minnesota couldn’t have done much better than getting Andrew Wiggins back for the forced trade of Kevin Love — they landed arguably the most hyped prospect entering the NBA in a decade. A guy with a world of potential.
Now is there pressure is on him to become the next face of the franchise? To grow into that cornerstone that the Timberwolves can build a winner around? That can be a lot of weight on the shoulders of a 19-year-old, right?
No. At least Wiggins doesn’t see it that way, speaking to the media in Minnesota (hat tip to Dime Magazine).
“I don’t really feel like it’s too much pressure right now. I’ve been through being the number one player in high school, in college, all that stuff. So, pressure to me has really died down; I don’t feel it as much as I used to.”
Everyone knew at Kansas he was going to have one year to get it right, then he was off to the NBA. With Minnesota he doesn’t have that kind of time pressure, nobody expects much of anything from the Timberwolves this season. It’s about improving, it’s about growth.
Speaking of growth, it’s easy to play the “what if” game here: “What if Wiggins had gotten to learn how to be a pro from being on the same team with LeBron James?” On paper that’s intriguing, and there were people who didn’t want the Cavs to make this deal. (Those people were wrong, by the way, Cleveland did the right thing.)
The reality is there are plenty of mentors in the NBA for a player willing to listen, and going to Minnesota means Wiggins is going to get thrown in the fire from the start and asked to play. A lot. That is the best way to learn.
“I think it’s a great situation whenever I think about it. It gives me more freedom. I’m sure surrounded by young guys that have the same intentions and determinations as me — to really win and get better every day.”
Watching Wiggins and Minnesota this season is going to be fun. They aren’t going to win much, but he’s gong to put up a few highlights and be fun to watch.
And at the end of the season we can talk about growth. The pressure part comes down the line.