Andrew Wiggins has finally arrived - in a different way than we expected

Andrew Wiggins has finally arrived – in a different way than we expected

new player.

This is how the call-up to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals referred to Andrew Wiggins as he was in the midst of what was arguably the most impressive performance of his eight-year NBA career.

The 26-year-old Golden State Warriors winger from Thornhill, Ont., put up an exclamation point on 27 points, 11 rebounds and a high walk plus 22 when he drove left and attacked the fairway at full speed by standing up for a dunk that was so fierce that officials initially described it as offensive foul.

Upon review, it was decided that the only thing to see was amazement. The play stood out, and it may well be the greatest immersion in Canadian basketball history. Even if it was somehow judged an offensive foul, it almost wouldn’t matter.

As Wiggins said, “You know, I feel like the immersion is going to survive.”

You will live forever now.

Even the victim had to admit that it was a cut above your normal imagination:

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who wisely tried to challenge Wiggins, lost the Battle of the Heavens as the Dallas Mavericks trailed 3-0 despite a 40-point night. “I saw the video again, I was like, Oh. That was unbelievable. I wish I had those bunnies.”

This was just one game among many in a game, series, and breakout track that looks more and more like the appearance of the Warriors VI Finals in the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson-Draymond Green era, and progressing to their fourth title is – for longtime Wiggins watchers – And perhaps more important.

Moment after his showman crowd on Doncic, Wiggins took another flying leap, this time for a dip dipping that pushed the Warriors up by 12 with 5:46 to play, and one of his high offensive rebounds in the game as part of a 14-7 decisive advantage Golden State had over Dallas.

“He looked like Dominic Wilkins outside with the dunkers throwing them on the floor,” Thompson of Wiggins said after the match.

In some ways, his most eye-catching attack on the rim came in the opening moments of the fourth, when his slender and deceptively powerful tire was thrown into the air and met at the top by Mavericks goalkeeper Reggie Bullock. The Dallas winger stood no chance. Wiggins sent him flying on the ground while he was drawing the bug.

Behind it all was some determined Wiggins defense on Doncic, as it helped blunt the Mavericks star’s efforts to lead a comeback in the fourth quarter. He wasn’t completely locked up — Doncic shot 53 percent of the series with Wiggins guarding him — but he raised his hand and stuck his nose up against one of the best offensive talents in the NBA. It is more than just a thing.

Wiggins has been in the spotlight since he was barely a teen when he was the early son of his NBA-playing father Mitch Wiggins, and his Olympian mother Marietta Payne. But he never shined that way, either by rising to the moment or in the way he did: displaying the audacity and toughness that are often considered the missing ingredients that keep the 2014 first public pick-up from the level of stardom that his athletic talent seemed to expect.

It’s his first long post-season run after six frustrating years in Minnesota and a season and a half prior to this season in the Golden State when dynastic warriors were in limbo, waiting for their stars to return to full health, and he’s thriving.

“Qualifiers [are] Wiggins said on Sunday. “..it is very detailed; physical [you’re] Able to get away with a little more things. So I love him. You know, I feel it stands out more than anyone else. It’s the biggest stage you can ask for.”

However, Wiggins’ ability to find a role within the established Sky Warriors raises some questions. Mainly: What took so long?

He’s not your standard role-playing underdog, climbing his way over impossible obstacles in order to finally earn what he deserves. This isn’t Fred Vanfleet, going from disbeliever to winning the MVP award during the Toronto Raptors race to the NBA title in 2019, or Pascal Siakam’s transition from obscurity in Cameroon to All-NBA recognition less than a decade after he started playing ball the basket.

He’s the former No. 1 pick, the son of a sports royal who was in the fourth year of a contract worth a maximum of $148 million, who this year only became a superstar — in part due to some electronic ballot box stuffing by fans of the pop star. ​Korean Bam Bam, Global Warriors Ambassador.

This year, with a steady diet of open looks as the occasional Warriors third and fourth choice, he’s made 39 percent of his career best of three, also decent in the first line of defense against the opposing team’s best players. He found a home.

Expectations, fair or not, were that Wiggins was supposed to lift the teams with his own talent, not as a catalyst. Wiggins looked himself ready for the job when he was certain he should make the top dollar on his rookie stretch heading into his fourth season. “No less than that” – was his negotiating position at the time.

And if being the focal point of the franchise turns out to be a role that wasn’t right for him in the end — and there’s no shame in that, it’s not a job for everyone — it’s hard not to wonder what his career would have looked like if he had played with that kind of aggression and effort more consistently.

But hey, it’s better late than never.

Warriors certainly aren’t worried. They acquired Wiggins for a low price – D’Angelo Russell and the rights to what turned out to be the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, later, a steal – giving him a clean slate and a chance to redefine at the prime of his career for mutual benefit.

“This is the man who has been criticized for being lacking in knowledge… We have heard everything,” Greene said Sunday. “However, he has made it onto the bigger stage. I’ve always said, no one talks about the teams the men belong to or the organizations the men belong to. Nobody ever talks about it. It is always the player’s fault. You know, it just shows that I’m not that far off when I say it. So it’s great to see it. It’s so amazing to see him go up in terms of play… He was so amazing for us as a team and for him as a player.”

Whatever path he had to take; Wiggins has gotten to a pretty good spot at the perfect time: He’s an important part of the Juggernaut team on the cusp of their first NBA Finals. He is weeks away from becoming the NBA champion.

“Some people never get [this] Wiggins said. “So you can’t take that for granted.”

Wiggins certainly isn’t.

New player? Maybe not. but different? certainly.

2022-05-23 16:32:00

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