Is Andrew Wiggins finally turning the corner?
Andrew Wiggins without question is a dynamic, gifted scorer. But since taking over the team ahead of last season, Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has been harping on the 22-year-old to elevate his game, especially on the defensive end of the court.
And it appears of late that Wiggins has finally started to heed Thibs’ exhortations and may be finally turning into a more well-rounded player. Thibodeau himself this week praised Wiggins for taking it upon himself to improve his overall game.
“I meant to mention last game, Andrew is really doing a lot of things out there for us,” Thibodeau said following Wednesday’s 104-88 dismantling of the Oklahoma City Thunder, per the Star Tribune.
The knock on Wiggins has been lack of commitment to developing into a better two-way player. The assumption was that with his defensive acumen, Thibodeau would be able to get through to Wiggins. Jimmy Butler, a Thibodeau disciple, has assisted in reinforcing the coach’s message as well.
It may have taken a bit longer than expected, but in recent weeks it appears Wiggins is buying in, notching a career-high three blocks in a win over the Pelicans and a season-high nine rebounds just three games prior.
“He adds so much to our team,” Thibodeau said. “He’s such a gifted scorer. That part is obvious. But it’s all the other things he’s capable of doing. He can play great when he doesn’t shoot the ball well and everybody has nights when they don’t shoot the ball great. But what else can you do? There’s defense, rebounding the ball, getting out on the break, making plays for other people.
“He had three blocked shots the other night. His activity overall has been great. It just makes the game easier for everyone.”
Wiggins signed a five-year, $148 million contract extension in October before the start of the season. A max-contract player should be expected to do more than simply score. Should Wiggins continue to develop as he has of late, the Timberwolves (27-16) go from a team on the rise to a dangerous one as soon as this coming postseason.