He has never been one for the spotlight, despite being arguably one of the five most hyped prospects heading into the NBA over the last decade. Nevertheless, Andrew Wiggins has risen above expectations and deserves more respect for what he has accomplished with the Golden State Warriors.
Andrew Wiggins deserves more respect for the way he has adapted his image and game with the Golden State Warriors.
Think back to 2019.
At this point, Wiggins was pretty much universally considered a disappointment. Not because he was a bad player — but because he seemingly stalled out. From his rookie season to his sixth and final year in Minnesota, Wiggins hardly grew as a player.
Wiggins’ game prior to joining the Dubs can be summed up in one word: contentment. He appeared comfortable being the same, uninspired, mid-range obsessed jump shooter who rarely exerted himself on the defensive end because… well, the Minnesota Timberwolves weren’t in a position to win anyways.
It would have been easy then, at the time, to call Wiggins a selfish player. One who didn’t care much about trying to win, at least.
However, as many predicted, a change of scenery could be all Wiggins needed. Perhaps he wasn’t selfish at all, rather, he had just lost his competitive spirit as his reputation was unfairly drug through the mud solely because of his pre-draft expectations being nearly impossible to live up to.
Within just a year and a half of Wiggins being in the Bay area, it became clear Wiggins just needed a new home.
By all metrics, Wiggins appeared to be buying into the system and winning culture established by the Warriors.
He shot a career-best from both the 3-point line and field overall as well as looking engaged on defense for the first time since… well, ever?
The turning point for Andrew Wiggins
Fast forward to October 2021. Here, Wiggins’ commitment to the team, and his previously perceived “selfishness”, was put to the test.
As I’m sure we all remember, Wiggins’ status for the season was up in the air. With his hesitancy to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the Bay area employee would only be eligible to compete in away games, as San Franciso has a vaccine mandate in place for residents.
At this stage, it would have been fairly easy for Wiggins to put his own values above the team. I mean, Kyrie Irving did it in Brooklyn and has held true to his beliefs, for better or worse, throughout the entire season.
Instead, Wiggins made the necessary sacrifice, for his community and his teammates.
This turned out to be a good move for Wiggins, who emerged from the controversy as one of Golden State’s lead 3-and-D contributors as they sent a not-so-subtle message to the league that yes, they were in fact back.
Consequently, Wiggins is in the midst of another career-best year and fresh off his first All-Star appearance. With the Warriors approaching full strength and preparing for a full-on sprint to the playoffs, Wiggins needs to get the respect he deserves.