It’s been a summer unlike any one he’s had before for Andrew Wiggins.
As a newly crowned NBA champion, the Warriors’ forward has finally been able to escape the immense criticism he’s received for the majority of his career.
In an interview with the Toronto Star this weekend, Wiggins told Doug Smith that he’s happy with his journey as the road to triumph. In Wiggin’s eyes, it was was worth the noise from nay-sayers he heard for years.
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of people had counted me out,” Wiggins said. “To be back and … winning a championship? All the sacrifices, all the ups and downs, all the stuff was worth it. It makes the story that much better.”
As a top NBA Draft pick in 2014 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wiggins spent the first six years of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. During that time, the T-Wolves made the playoffs only once, winning a single game in the first round in 2018.
In 2020, the Warriors made the move to acquire the Toronto native via trade, bringing him into a team culture built around championship expectations. In addition, it took the load off of his shoulders as the No. 1 scoring option.
“When I step on the court, I’ve always been confident in what I can do,” Wiggins said. “When I was in Minnesota, I put up numbers. But people said, ‘He put up numbers on a bad team.’ So, I go to Golden State and I’m not scoring as much, but I’m doing a lot at a more efficient rate, so the whole world gets to see.”
Wiggins’ contributions fit into Golden State’s system seamlessly in 2022. The result was 18.3 points per game in the NBA Finals, including a 26-point outburst in Game 5.
With a shiny Larry O’Brien trophy in his arms, Wiggins now feels like he’s gained the ability to shut out the noise from the critics who lived in his head rent-free for all these years and it’s led to the best summer of his life.
“It’s been a different type of summer, but the best summer of my life,” he said. “It’s been amazing coming down here and feeling all this love and positivity. It’s been great. Just being able to bring the trophy back home to where it all started for me … where all my friends and family are that helped me get to the place where I’m at now.”
The Chicago Bulls (35-38) hope to extend a five-game road winning stretch at the Los Angeles Lakers (37-37) on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at 3:30 PM ET. The Lakers
The Dallas Mavericks (36-38) visit the Charlotte Hornets (24-51) at Spectrum Cente
The Cleveland Cavaliers (47-28) host the Houston Rockets (18-56) on March 26, 2023
The Dallas Mavericks (36-38) will try to halt a three-game losing streak when visiting the Charlotte Hornets (24-51) at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at