Andrew Wiggins is finally an NBA champion in his eighth year in the NBA. But he thinks he could have won a title with LeBron if the Cavs hadn’t traded him.
Andrew Wiggins won 16 games his rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015. Wiggins played all 82 games, and averaged 16.9 points per game on 44 percent shooting. Not bad for a rookie minus, the lowly win total.
The Timberwolves improved to 29 wins in 2016 with Wiggins as their leading scorer — 20.7 points per game. That sure sounds like a player who could have contributed immediately to a championship-level team rather than trying to lift up a moribund franchise. Wiggins might have had a chance to compete for a title earlier if the Cavs hadn’t traded him to the Timberwolves.
“You know coming in and seeing the LeBron go back to Cleveland and Kyrie is there you know you look at the big picture and you’re like, wow,” Wiggins told FanSided. “This could be an amazing opportunity.”
Cleveland had other plans, trading the right rights to Wiggins to Minnesota because the Cavs and LeBron James wanted to win now and favored a veteran big man who could shoot, like Kevin Love, over a talented rookie like Wiggins. Love’s first year in Cleveland ended with him missing the rest of the playoffs after dislocating his shoulder in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series versus Boston.
Without Love for most of the playoffs, Cleveland still made it to the NBA Finals but lost in six games to Golden State. Could Wiggins have been worth two wins? Certainly possible.
The LeBron James Cavs and Andrew Wiggins both won titles, but not together
The Cavs did — borderline miraculously — win a championship in 2016 coming back from 3-1 down against Golden State with Steph Curry banged up and Draymond Green suspended for Game 5. They did it with minimal help from Love who struggled mightily in the Finals — 8.5 points per game, 36 percent from the field, 26 percent from beyond the arc.
Love missed Game 3 — a Cavs blowout win — after he was placed in the concussion protocol. In the four Cavs wins Love scored a combined 18 points.
Meanwhile, Minnesota made the playoffs one time in Wiggins’ five-plus years in Minnesota when Tom Thibodeau was coaching and Jimmy Butler helped the young group. Timberwolves fans were never satisfied with Wiggins since the team was not winning. Butler forced a trade to Philadelphia, Thibodeau was fired and Wiggins was ultimately traded to Golden State late in the 2020 season.
Two full seasons later Wiggins is an NBA champion. Despite the somewhat tumultuous road, there are no regrets for the former number one overall pick.
“I wouldn’t change nothing I would just keep the same road and you know, I love everything that happened in my career the ups and downs I feel like this championship made everything worth it.”
Andrew Wiggins is partnering with Invisalign on how he gets his smile ready for game-day and post-game events.