This is the type of game that will be commonplace for Andrew Wiggins in just a few years’ time. Watch the Minnesota Timberwolves’ prized rookie lead his team to a surprising victory over the Portland Trail Blazers with an energetic all-around effort highlighted by clutch plays on both ends of the floor.
We’ve long adamantly defended Wiggins from those who critique his motor. One of the reasons why the hyper-athletic teenager sometimes seems looks like he’s loafing is because his movements are so effortless – he’s the product of a NBA veteran and Olympic silver medalist, after all.
But Wednesday’s performance stood in stark contrast to the majority of those early in his inaugural NBA campaign. Wiggins dove for loose balls, consistently crashed the glass, attacked driving lanes, and ran the floor like a player hellbent on ending his team’s six-game losing streak. And while that reality doesn’t necessarily confirm the notion that the 19 year-old’s effort easily wanes, it still proves that a relentless motor is something he needs to develop.
Is this the look of a player who is known to “float?”
Wiggins scored 23 points, grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, and matched his personal-best with four assists versus the Blazers. He was more playmaker and general havoc-wreaker than the isolation scorer he’s been for most of 2014-2015, a highly encouraging glimpse of a bright future that’s not too far down the road.
The number one pick won’t always shoot 9-of-16 from the field, and perpetually injured Minny won’t always be competitive, either. But Wiggins can certainly bring this level of intensity on a nightly basis as his skills improve, comfort develops, and teammates slowly grow healthy.
That’s the most important step in his long evolution right now. Wednesday’s game is the best indicator yet that Wiggins is nearly ready to take it.
(Video via Dawk Ins)
What do you think?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.