Every season, it seems like the Minnesota Timberwolves are banking on Andrew Wiggins to take the next step forward as a player. It’s only fair since the team rewarded him with a five-year, $148 million contract that will run until the 2022-23 NBA season. The first overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career, but critics have questioned his drive as a basketball player.
After being under heavy scrutiny for his performances last year, Wiggins admitted to not having the “best season” while indicating his aim to use it as motivation to improve his game. By now, Wiggins has become used to dealing with chatter regarding his work ethic and inconsistent play, but he doesn’t allow it to affect him.
“People will critique you a lot of times because they think you can do better. You know, so I use that as motivation to be like, ‘yeah you guys are right, I gotta do better.’ So I’m going to keep growing, keep learning, and keep adding to my game,” said Wiggins during the Timberwolves media day, per Fox Sports.
During his press conference, Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders mentioned that he expects Wiggins to unlock his potential with a great campaign. This offseason, he worked with Wiggins on improving his shot selection through the use of analytics and game film. Wiggins said he is ready to repay Saunders’ faith in him as he promises to continue growing as a player.
“Just limiting the, you know, the longer two’s and the midrange shots. And trying to get a higher percentage shot, which is a three and a layup,” replied Wiggins in regards to getting more efficient looks.
Considering Wiggins’ struggles last season, his trade value may not be high enough for the Timberwolves to shop him around, especially since he comes at a costly price. The team has no choice but to put Wiggins in the best position to succeed. With the rise of competition in the Western Conference, the Timberwolves need a breakout year from Wiggins, one that would place him among the elite players in the NBA.
As previously noted by The Inquisitr, the Timberwolves have been active in trade talks, with Kyle Lowry being one of their main targets. The five-time NBA All-Star would instantly take some pressure off Karl-Anthony Towns and Wiggins on the offensive end, although the Toronto Raptors may not be willing to part with him.
That being said, the Timberwolves anticipate some big changes in Wiggins’ game, but only time will tell if the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year can finally live up to the hype.