Andrew Wiggins sacrificed himself for the Golden State Warriors. Now he’s an NBA champion – Boston Herald

When the Golden State Warriors needed a bucket to stop the Boston Celtics’ 14-2 streak in the opening minutes of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, it was Andrew Wiggins who scored the key three. And when the Warriors needed to settle on Jason Tatum, whose superstar as a near-defended scorer is only scratching the surface, Wiggins called.

In fact, just about every time the Warriors needed to play in the Finals—an offensive rebound that resulted in a pitch, a block shot, an insulating basket when an attack bogged down, a forced loss of Tatum—Wiggins managed it. happen.

Stephen Curry has rightfully been named the 2022 NBA Finals MVP. as the Warriors eliminated the Celtics in six games on Thursday, but Wiggins doesn’t need Bill Russell’s eponymous trophy to prove his worth on a championship team. His development from year to year is a big part of why the Warriors were able to hold another championship years after their dynasty supposedly came to an end – as is his decision to get vaccinated despite strong personal objections to introducing a foreign substance into his blood. body.

The vaccination status, however, is neither here nor there. It’s just a footnote, a reminder of what Brooklyn could have been like if Kyrie Irving had decided to make the sacrifice Wiggins made to his team.

However, Wiggins’ sacrifice goes far beyond getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The Golden State Warriors player is not the player who walked around the Target Center in a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey.

“I’m just doing whatever it takes to win,” he said at Boston’s TD Garden as the Warriors celebrated their championship. “That’s what they do here at Golden State: they win.”

Every team needs a player like Andrew Wiggins. It’s an interesting suggestion, because two years ago the thought would have made you laugh.

Wiggins’ championship season in San Francisco saw the second-worst record of his career and the fewest shot attempts per game since his rookie season. However, by all accounts, it was the best basketball of Wiggins’ career, and it’s not even close. It’s because he’s bought into everything that helps the team win. Someone is implying that Bradley Beal is yelling the truth at high school basketball players who think they will score 30 points at the next level.

“How can you influence the victory?”

In the case of Wiggins, it was offensive rebounding against a Celtics team that had beaten the Warriors by numbers. It was defense against Tatum and Luka Doncic in the Western Conference Finals, and any offensive threat the Warriors needed to test him. Wiggins totaled three blocks and four steals in Game 6. When Steve Kerr replaced him in the fourth quarter with Andre Iguodala, Iguodala gave Wiggins huge fives three times, looked him in the eyes and said, “What did I tell you?” It could be assumed that Iguodala told Wiggins that if he sacrificed himself and gave himself to small things, a championship would follow.

In a way, joining the Warriors made Wiggins a rookie again. He was selected with the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but was never a true #1 player on a championship team. With the Warriors, Wiggins doesn’t need to take on any kind of offensive load for an extended period of time. The Warriors have way too many weapons – Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole (although they have to decide whether to re-sign him) – they all ease the pressure that Wiggins succumbed to the burden of the T-wolves years ago.

That was then and this is now, and Wiggins is no longer the same player. He is complete. He does everything they say he can’t do in Minnesota. He is an All-Star and NBA champion.

Now it’s an ongoing streak with no end in sight: the Warriors have won four NBA titles over the past eight years with a three-year hiatus due to injury to star players. They will most likely re-sign Wiggins on a long term contract and develop their other young players – Jonathan Cuminga, James Wiseman, Moses Moody – to create a deep and versatile opponent next season.

Wiggins proved worthy and deserving of another trade. And he created a template that other players of his unique type should follow. Anyone, even a former No. 1 overall flagged as bust, can rethink themselves and their careers. It takes the right situation to do that, and the Warriors proved to be just that. But it requires participation and sacrifice. Wiggins did both and now he’s a champion.


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