Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, like it or not, has been stuck with a narrative. It dates back to his early time with the Timberwolves, when both the organization and fellow players questioned his work ethic, leading to the pervasive presumption that Wiggins was uninterested in improving as a player and does not care much about winning.
But team beat writer Connor Letourneau, speaking on the Warriors Off Court podcast, had a much different take on Wiggins’ dedication and offered up a previously unknown detail about Wiggins from just last month.
Here’s what Letourneau said:
I am so tired of hearing from Warriors fans and other people out there that this guy does not care, that he is apathetic, that he is lazy. … This is a guy, I don’t think this is out there, this is a guy who a couple weeks ago, his girlfriend was going into labor, he had her delay inducing labor so that he can play a regular season NBA game for the Warriors. And then immediately after the game was over, he said, ‘Yep time to induce labor, I’ll be there.’ Like, come on guys.
Andrew Wiggins Has Hit Career-Highs in Shooting
However you rank the problems of this year’s Warriors, Wiggins should be low on the list. The Warriors are 34-33 and rank eighth in the Western Conference, with a firm grip on, at least, a spot in the NBA’s play-in games. It has taken a Herculean effort from Stephen Curry to get that far, and perhaps as a No. 2 option, Wiggins has disappointed. But he was brought in to be a No. 3 option, behind Klay Thompson, who is rehabbing from an Achilles tendon injury.
Wiggins has put together his most efficient NBA season, shooting 47.2% from the field and 38.2% from the 3-point line. Those are both career highs. Wiggins is averaging 18.3 points per game, making him a solid No. 2 even if he is not quite on Thompson’s level.
Steve Kerr on Andrew Wiggins: “He’s a winner. He’s just there for you. He’s been very consistent.”
Fair to say, “winner” and “consistent” weren’t words associated with Wiggins until this season.
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) May 4, 2021
Wiggins was acquired last season from the Timberwolves for guard D’Angelo Russell, with the Warriors also gaining Minnesota’s first-rounder this season in the deal. That pick is Top-3 protected in 2021, but unprotected if it is forwarded to next season.
‘We’re Very Much Thrilled to Have Him Here’
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that, whatever Wiggins’ reputation might be, he is happy with his forward.
“We’re very much thrilled to have him here,” Kerr said, per the Chronicle. “It’s been a good fit, and that’s kind of how the NBA goes for a lot of players. I think this is a very natural progression for a guy like Andrew, where he finds a better fit than his first team, and there’s nothing out of the ordinary about that. I think he’s happy. I know we’re happy.”
It helps, too, that Wiggins does not have to carry too heavy a load with the Warriors, as he did in Minnesota. Wiggins appears more comfortable as a solid role player than a guy who is nudged into a No. 1 option role.
“I think Andrew (Wiggins) enjoys being under the radar,” Kerr also said. “I don’t think he really wants the limelight. He loves basketball, loves being a part of our team. So it’s a really good situation for him. Steph and Draymond are our leaders. … It’s been a really good fit.”
You would not know that from paying too much attention to the Wiggins clichés, however.