Andrew Wiggins is aware he wasn’t exactly the fan favorite when he was with the Timberwolves, and when asked before Thursday’s game, his first as a visitor in Target Center, how the 3,000 or so fans might react to him in Target Center, Wiggins flashed a smile.
“Shoot, I couldn’t tell you, man, to be honest,” Wiggins said. “I don’t know. I’m excited to see though.”
The easygoing Wiggins was always one to let criticism roll off his slender back and took everything in stride. He never got too emotional, which was sometimes a source of criticism in itself. Wiggins said earlier this year he was thankful for a fresh start in Golden State and the Warriors have seemed happy with him, as he’s averaged 17.9 points per game and is shooting a career best 37% from three-point range.
“We’re very much thrilled to have him here. It’s been a good fit,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “This is kind of how the NBA goes for most players. Most players, probably 95% of players in the league, are dependent on their circumstances. The situation they find themselves in. … This is a very natural progression for a guy like Andrew where he finds a better fit than his first team and there’s nothing out of the ordinary about that.”
The Wolves traded Wiggins on Feb. 6, 2020, to the Warriors along with a protected first-round pick in 2021 and a second rounder for D’Angelo Russell.
Wiggins said he has “nothing but love” for the Wolves and for his time in Minnesota despite the tumultuous start to his career here.
“Living here was great,” Wiggins said. “I got to meet a lot of people in the community. I made a lot of friends and people that I’ll talk to and be cool with the rest of my life. Just playing here with the organization it was cool. Helped me grow into the man I am today.”
The criticism hasn’t stopped for Wiggins in Golden State. Recently, ESPN host Stephen A. Smith said he would trade Wiggins away for “a box of cookies” if he could manage that in return.
“I just keep pushing forward,” Wiggins said. “There’s always going to be people that are going to say negative things, whether there’s constructive criticism or not. Some things are positive. Some things are negative but I’m just going to keep pushing either way, just trying to get better.”
As for his old team, Wiggins said “they’re hooping now” and said the future looked bright for the organization. He said he still talks to Karl-Anthony Towns from time to time, since he sees him online playing video games a decent amount.
“It feels good to be back,” Wiggins said. “It’s an amazing city. Like I said, amazing people and even with the team, they made changes and they’re hooping now. They made some good changes and the changes worked out for them and they got some good young guys, so I feel they’re going to keep getting better.”