Andrew Christian Wiggins is a Canadian professional basketball player currently affiliated with the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is also part of the Canadian national team. A native of Toronto, he grew up in the nearby Thornhill neighbourhood of Vaughan, Ontario. Both of his parents have been athletes. His father is a former basketball player who has also played in the NBA while his mother was an Olympic track-and-field sprinter. Since he was a child, he has been interested in basketball, and at nine, began playing the sport. Wiggins played high school basketball for Vaughan Secondary School and Huntington Prep School. After graduating, he attended the University of Kansas and was part of their basketball program. In 2014, Cleveland Cavaliers chose him as their first overall pick during the NBA draft. He is the second Canadian national after Anthony Bennett to have been picked number one overall in the NBA draft. However, he was traded alongside Bennett to the Timberwolves without playing a single game for the Cavaliers. He went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award for the 2014-15 season and played a crucial role in the Timberwolves’2018 playoffs appearance.
NBA Rookie Season
Wiggins’s disappointing ending to his lone season at Kansas did nothing to dissuade NBA executives. On 26 June 2014, Wiggins was selected first overall in the NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the second consecutive Canadian chosen with the No. 1 pick, following Brampton, Ontario’s Anthony Bennett in 2013.
On 23 August 2014-before even playing a single game for Cleveland-Wiggins was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for all-star forward Kevin Love. Wiggins became the first No. 1 pick since 1993 to be traded before playing a game with the team that drafted him. His NBA regular season debut came on 29 October 2014 and was a quiet one; he scored just six points in 18:33 of playing time. But Wiggins gained momentum quickly and scored 20 or more points in 31 games during his rookie season. Taking command on a young team looking to build its roster around him, Wiggins led the Timberwolves in minutes played (36.2 minutes per game). He was the only player on the team to play in all 82 games.
On 30 April 2015, Wiggins became the first Canadian player to be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, receiving 110 of a possible 130 votes.
NBA Career Highlights
Andrew Wiggins averaged 20.7 points per game in the 2015-16 season and 23.6 points per game in 2016-17. As of 2019, these are the only seasons in NBA history during which a Canadian player has averaged more than 20 points per game. On 13 November 2016, Wiggins scored a career-best 47 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, making him the first Canadian player to score more than 40 points in a game.
On 11 October 2017, just prior to the 2017-18 NBA season, Wiggins was awarded a five-year contract extension worth US$146.5 million-the maximum amount he was eligible to receive. “Andrew is one of the best players in the NBA and he has the talent and work ethic to get even better and be a foundation for our franchise for many years,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. The deal, which has an average annual value of US$29.3 million, made Wiggins the highest-paid Canadian athlete of all time.
Although he has remained one of the NBA’s most consistent players, starting every game he played in during his first five years in the league, Wiggins’s statistics regressed across the board following his contract extension. However, in the 2017–18 season he managed to lead the Timberwolves to their first playoff berth during his tenure with the team.
In 2018-19, Wiggins had his worst NBA season to date. He played in the fewest games (73) and recorded the lowest average minutes per game (34.8), field goal percentage (.412) and total points (1,321) of his career. His offensive stats rebounded in the 2019-20 season. After 42 games, his points-per-game average of 22.4 was the second-best of his career. On 6 February 2020, less than two hours before the NBA trade deadline, Wiggins, along with the Timberwolves’ protected first-round draft pick in 2021 and second-round pick in 2022, was traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for point guard D’Angelo Russell.
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