The Andrew Wiggins saga is finally over.
The Vaughan, Ontario native, along with Brampton’s Anthony Bennett have found a new home.
We’ve seen them in action together on many occasions and now the Canadian combo has arrived in Minnesota.
The two have been linked together for much of their young careers, having played with national program, major national events in the U.S as well as the AAU circuit.
In a three-team trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers; Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett have found themselves back on the same squad.
Also packaged to the Timberwolves via Philly is Thaddeous Young.
Philadelphia picks up Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved and Miami’s 2015 first round pick, which was given up by Cleveland.
In my opinion, the Cavaliers are on top in this trade, and receive the best scenario out of the deal. They are back to being legitimate contenders for an NBA championship.
On paper, the Cavs look very balanced with players that have rings, experience and a young PG in Kyrie Irving, one of the league’s best.
Side note, don’t sleep on Tristan Thompson.
For Wiggins and Bennett, the last two first overall picks in the NBA draft, Minnesota is no less than an opportunity.
For Bennett, a blank slate and a chance to erase the stigma as a flop first pick and for Wiggins a chance to be the franchise player.
“People thought he was the best to come out of high school since Lebron James, so he’s been compared to those,” said T-Wolves Head Coach, Flip Saunders in press conference.
NPH has followed the careers of these two Canadians since the ninth grade and with that being said, particularly with Wiggins, he hasn’t seen much failure in his basketball life. Bennett recently received his dose, that is expected to fuel him all season.
In this years NBA Summer League, Bennett has trimmed down and added speed, and of course is now injury free.
For Wiggins, this is not a surprising move, this deal had already been in the works, and was in theory already decided on as they waited for league formalities on rookie contracts to pass.
The experience of playing with Lebron James and the depth on that Cleveland roster would have undoubtedly improved Wiggins’ game. However, every great one has their own path. Lebron needed to fail and learn on his own before becoming a champion and the best player on planet earth.
For Wiggins, it’s a similar path. Minnesota has been struggling for years and he is being looked at as the man of a new era in Timberwolves basketball.
Wiggins has now embraced his stardom and is ready for the challenge of lifting a bottom of the barrel NBA team to relevance.
“As I was here last year, I didn’t know if the team had an identity. I believe now that we’ve taken steps to having an identity for what this team is; exciting, a team that can get up and down the floor,” explained Saunders.
How does Wiggins fit in to this identity?
“WIggins has potential to be an All-defensive player. Right now he’s probably ahead defensively than where he is offensively,” said Saunders.
In a strong Western Conference, the T-Wolves will scratch and claw with their young crop and Wiggins will be tested.
Time and time again, Wiggins has risen to the occasion…and with an entire country dependent on his success, the 6’8 wing lacks no incentive to put in the work…he will do so, with his Canadian buddy along for the ride.