Maybe playing next to or under the wing of LeBron James would have been beneficial for Andrew Wiggins, but it seems like the trade that must not be talked about, which will make him a Minnesota Timberwolves player, eventually will be the better career move for the rookie small forward, who is probably excited about having the chance to lead a team instead of being just another piece.
Obviously, everyone wants to win, but that desire to give up on some things – money, minutes, playing time and more in order to place yourself in a position where you can play next to great players and more importantly contend for an NBA title, usually comes later in someone’s career, especially if he hasn’t achieved that by that point.
Wiggins? He’s just beginning, and while at first it seemed like the number one overall pick landed in an incredible situation: Playing next to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, making things a bit slower and more patient for him, things changed quickly. The Cavaliers are run by LeBron James, and his plan was to bring another star to the team. The cost? Trading Andrew Wiggins along with Anthony Bennett and another first round draft pick, with Kevin Love on the other end of that deal.
Wiggins didn’t seem like the kind of player who wants everything to be on him when he was in college, sharing the load with Joel Embiid and others. He did average 17.1 points per game under Bill Self at Kansas, but some might say there was something of a disappointment in Wiggins after the huge hype that carried him from Canada into his one-and-done season in College Basketball.
Wiggins isn’t in the league to become a second fiddle to anyone. Quarterbacks in the NFL need grooming time behind a dominant player. Basketball is a different sport. The NBA is a different league. While Wiggins might not be cut out to be a leader and a number one guy right from the start, getting that responsibility and label from the first moment will only make the transition easier for him, instead of rising slowly from the bottom when he’s clearly too talented for that kind of slow development.
In Minnesota, he’ll be the number one player, or at least one among equals, with Kevin Martin never one to easily share the ball or the lead. Nikola Pekovic, unless he’s traded, is also a force to be reckoned with there on offense, while Ricky Rubio is trying to become more than just the guy with fancy passes and assists but terrible shooting numbers. Wiggins brings them something different, and although it’s not a guarantee, beginning his NBA career as the guy and not just some guy should do him a world of good.