Tonight, Andrew Wiggins will play at home against the team that originally drafted him, as the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second game of their six-game road trip. Having won their last five, a win for LeBron James and the Cavs would make this their second-longest winning streak of the season. The 24-9 Cavaliers currently lead the NBA’s Eastern Conference ahead of the second-place Chicago Bulls by 2.5 games. Minnesota, on the other hand, is just 13th overall in the Western Conference with a record of 12-24.
Until they bring home their first NBA Championship, fans and analysts will always debate whether or not the Cavs made the right choice with Andrew Wiggins. The Cleveland Cavaliers had the first overall draft pick in 2014. Before it had been revealed that LeBron James would be returning to Cleveland, the Cavs selected Andrew Wiggins. When it was reported that James would, indeed, return to play for the Cavaliers, Cleveland fans began to speculate about James rebuilding the franchise and handing it off to Wiggins after a few years. Those hopes were dashed, however, when it was discovered that the Cavs planned on trading Wiggins to Minnesota in exchange for perennial All-Star Kevin Love. For the first time since Chris Webb in 1993, the first overall pick from the NBA Draft would be traded before playing a single game for the team that picked him.
Since that time, people have been evaluating the trade. Rather than preparing for the long-term with Wiggins, Cleveland went for the immediate big impact of signing an established star in Kevin Love, feeling they could win an NBA Championship within the first few years. While the “big three” (James, Love, and Kyrie Irving) failed to capture the NBA Championship last season, they made it to the NBA Finals, proving that they were legitimate contenders once again.
This will be the first time this season that the two teams have met head-to-head. Last season, the Cavs won both meetings, both times by double digits. Despite losing both match-ups, as Cleveland.com notes, Wiggins average 30 points per game against the Cavs last season and shot 56 percent from the field. While Minnesota will be hoping that Wiggins can have another solid outing tonight, Cleveland will hope that Irving continues the success he’s had since returning to the line-up.
Having returned from a knee injury just over two weeks ago, Kyrie’s transition back has been even better than coach David Blatt and the defending Eastern Conference Champions could have hoped. But as USA Today discovered, they don’t want to jinx anything by praising him too soon.
“I don’t like to open my mouth to the devil… It’s only reasonable to expect he’s going to go through a process and still have days when he’s better and days when he’s going to have some effect for as many months as he’s been out.”
Irving is averaging 28.5 points over the last two games, up against potential All-Star guards Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) and John Wall (Washington Wizards). It appears he’s back in full-force, even if his focus is still on “progression, progression, progression.”
Tonight’s match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves is scheduled to be begin at 7 p.m. CST from the Target Center in Minneapolis. The game will air on ESPN and Fox Sports – Ohio.
[Photo by Mark Lawrie/Getty Images]