Draymond Green Says Andrew Wiggins Finals Performance Shows The Wolves, Not Wiggins, Were The Problem

The Golden State Warriors have a 3-2 lead over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals thanks to a tremendous Game 5 performance from Andrew Wiggins, who picked up the slack on an off night from Stephen Curry.

Wiggins had 26 points and 13 rebounds, coming off of a 17-points, 16-rebound night in Game 4, to lead the Warriors to the win with another terrific two-way effort. It’s the latest strong night from a player that has become one of Golden State’s most reliable performers all postseason, a fairly incredible turnaround from his tenure in Minnesota, where he showed flashes of brilliance but a frustrating lack of consistency.

After Game 5, Draymond Green made sure to note that Wiggins is proving that the way we talk about players struggling to live up to expectations often leaves out a key element: organizational support. As Green told Scott Van Pelt, Wiggins is showing that while players get most of the blame, in this case the fault lies in Minnesota, not with Wiggins, for how things panned out.

Wiggins had four coaches in six years in Minnesota, and there’s very good reason to believe that the Wolves hold at least considerable fault for him not finding this level of success — although, it must be said, his effort level in non-scoring areas has been tremendously improved in Golden State, which certainly is helped by the Warriors culture but is also partly on Wiggins. In his postgame presser, Green elaborated further on how he and the team have viewed Wiggins since he arrived, noting that Wiggins got a strong vote of support from his former coach Tom Thibodeau.

It’s an interesting anecdote, and Green’s absolutely correct that Jimmy Butler liking a player is usually an endorsement of their work ethic and toughness, if nothing else. He’s also right that we should (and I’d counter that some do) put the onus on franchises to provide the support to players that’s needed for them to develop into the best versions of themselves, but there’s also probably something to the trade to Golden State being something of a wake-up call that Wiggins needed in order to find this level of interest in all the little things that it takes to win.