Andrew Wiggins has never managed to live up to the hype that surrounded him as a prospect coming into the 2014 NBA Draft when he was taken first overall. Wiggins was, briefly, a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded that same summer to the Minnesota Timberwolves as a centerpiece of the Kevin Love trade after LeBron James returned home.
In the years since, Wiggins has been solid if unspectacular, but most importantly, even when paired with fellow top pick Karl-Anthony Towns, the winning never came consistently in Minnesota. Wiggins was dealt to the Warriors last season in the D’Angelo Russell trade, partially as a reclamation project and partially as a salary dump from Minnesota. Thus far this season, Wiggins isn’t producing at the raw level he did in his best years in Minnesota, averaging 17.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game, but his efficiency has seen a jump — most notably shooting 40 percent from three — and he’s embraced his role as a secondary weapon alongside Stephen Curry.
On Monday night, Wiggins had 23 points in a win over his old squad, and after the game was asked about the emotions of facing Minnesota as well as why he seems to feel so comfortable in Golden State — during which he illuminated some things he seemed to think were differences in the team cultures.
An interested Steph Curry in Andrew Wiggins' postgame answer on what it was like to face his former franchise.
A subdued Wiggins giving about the soundbite you'd expect, plus some other answers on what's different for him with Warriors compared to Wolves. pic.twitter.com/pcPBf1eoQP
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 26, 2021
Wiggins citing the Warriors “winning culture” over and over, as well as noting how they’re “organized” and “straightforward” with players certainly seemed like a bit more than just fawning praise on his new club. It also seemed to be a point about the problems the Timberwolves have as an organization, and why they haven’t been able to establish a winning culture of their own. While many saw this as Wiggins burying his old team, the fact of the matter is, he’s not wrong. These aren’t new critiques of what goes on in Minnesota, and while Wiggins was once considered part of the problem there, we have heard all of these things before when Jimmy Butler was pushing his way out.
It surely won’t endear Wiggins to the Wolves fanbase, but it’s also pretty much an accurate assessment of the uphill climb still facing Minnesota to try and establish an identity and a culture. For Wiggins, he’s gotten to see what that looks like now in Golden State, where roles are more defined and there’s an expectation of accountability across the board, including from players in the locker room. It’s clear that’s left an imprint on Wiggins and has him excited about his new digs.