Remember all those questions about former Cavaliers no. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins‘ competitive drive?
Some nights, suiting up for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wiggins looked bored, over it all.
He always posted strong numbers, but many thought there was just something. . . off.
But since joining the Warriors and embarking on Golden State’s current Finals run, Wiggins has looked impressive.
Some might even call him. . . interested.
Wiggins opened up recently about his feelings towards the Cavaliers.
Back in 2014, Wiggins was the no. 1 overall draft selection, taken by a Cleveland team that was welcoming prodigal son LeBron James back from his time with the Miami Heat.
And it wasn’t long before Wiggins was shipped out of Cleveland to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love.
Wiggins explained to Yahoo Sports that the trade was hard on him, and he left a little more juice in the tank for games against Cleveland:
“I definitely had them circled on the calendar. I knew exactly when they were coming for sure.”
The trade also lit a competitive fire under Wiggins, who kept a chip on his shoulder long after he appeared in his first presser with the T-Wolves:
“I wanted to show them what they were missing, show them I’m doing better over here. That was my mindset back then. It was always fun and competitive playing a team that had traded you. It wasn’t an easy experience to go through, but I feel like that’s what kept me motivated and competitive.”
It’s a little ironic that Wiggins used the word “competitive” given the label slapped on him for most of his career up to this point.
Wiggins himself attributed the lack of competitiveness to a perception problem; the issue wasn’t that Wiggins didn’t want to win, but rather, he was in a losing situation in Minnesota.
But three years into his tenure with Golden State, Wiggins is showing that he is, indeed, a competitive player.
Never forget, in the biggest game of the season, Andrew Wiggins showed up.
— Marcus Thompson II (@ThompsonScribe) June 11, 2022
In the 2022 Finals, Wiggins has arguably been Golden State’s second-best player behind Stephen Curry.
He may not pop off for 20+ points like Klay Thompson or instigate silly mistakes from opposing teams like Draymond Green, but Wiggins is an invaluable member of this Warriors team.
It also helps that his position, wing, is far more valuable than it was even three years ago.
Was It Worth It?
Cavs fans have to ask themselves: was the trade worth it?
Most would probably say yes since the Cavs lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy back in 2016.
But imagine Wiggins still in a Cavs uniform.
For starters, his age could have prolonged LeBron’s career, giving him another young (potential) star to play with in Cleveland.
In essence, the Cavs could have extended their run by keeping a young player like Wiggins rather than trading for a vet like Kevin Love.
In all likelihood, the Cavs would have handed Andrew Wiggins a massive contract, which many would have bemoaned, until Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen arrived.
What has unlocked Andrew Wiggins' rebounding?
Wiggins: "I want to win."
He grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds to go with 17 points and was a +20
— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) June 11, 2022
The Cavs today might have a much more productive player today in Wiggins than Love had the trade not gone down.
And it’s a bit salivating to imagine Wiggins suiting up alongside Garland and Mobley, especially when the Cavs need more wing depth.
But at the end of the day, the Cavs won a chip with Love and still ended up with an ascendant Garland and a budding superstar in Mobley.
Can’t be too upset about that.
Leave a Reply