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Andrew Wiggins

Team Canada To Lean On Andrew Wiggins At FIBA Americas

It’s really no surprise that Team Canada plans to lean on 20-year-old phenom Andrew Wiggins at the 2015 FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico during September. The NBA’s Rookie of the Year was a horse for the Minnesota Timberwolves during his first pro season, logging the second most minutes in the league at 2,969 while playing in all 82 games.

Wiggins learned fast in Minnesota. Averaging just 12.3 points and 1.0 assist in 29.9 minutes in November, he was tearing things up by April averaging 23.3 points and 4.0 assists in 41.2 minutes over the final month. The first overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft proved his superstar potential.

“I think that every level he has played at, teams have leaned on him,” Team Canada head coach Jay Triano said. “Even as a rookie last year in the NBA playing all the games that he did. We are going to make sure to give him the basketball and we expect him to be a big player for us.”

On a relatively young team loaded with NBA talent including his Timberwolves teammate Anthony Bennett, Wiggins acknowledges his leadership role. Mexico represents a chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, so he has to step up, the future is now.

“I believe (I have a leadership role),” Wiggins said. “I believe a lot of the stuff that I do is to lead by example.

“I want to win. I believe with all the talent we have got, I believe we are the best team. We just got to go out there and fight. I think we were the last team to get together, so we got to work hard in practice and get the chemistry good and go out there and give it our all.”

Team Canada does have a few players with international experience, however, the guy with the biggest international and professional reputation has taken a management role, not that this has kept former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash on the sidelines during training camp. Wiggins does have someone he can talk to who has been on this stage before with an opportunity to take his team to the Olympics.

“I’ve seen (Steve Nash) a couple of times over the summer time,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been able to ask him questions. I played the international game a couple of times when I was younger. I kind of know what to expect, but not fully at this level of competition, so I am looking forward to it. Our team is full of youth. I think that is going to be our biggest negative factor, but it’s a positive too.”

Wiggins will get help adjusting to this level of international play from some of teammates as well. This will be point guard Cory Joseph’s third trip to the FIBA Americas tournament with the Senior Men’s National Team and both Andrew Nicholson and Brady Heslip were big contributors in 2013. Kelly Olynyk played at FIBA Americas in 2011 and there are several other players with international experience that Triano is counting on to expedite the learning process for his FIBA Americas rookies.

However, there is no ignoring the impact a talent like Wiggins can have on a team. It might not be fair to put the burden of Team Canada’s success or failure on the shoulders of such a young player, but that is the reality every superstar player faces. He will be leaned on. Fortunately, he’ll have a lot of help.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

Andrews Wiggins presser by MoVernie

Timberwolves Free Dunk Contest With Wiggins And LaVine

The Minnesota Timberwolves know how to sell a rebuilding program to their fans as they heat up training camp with “Dunks After Dark” at 11pm on Monday September 29 headlining their high flying rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

 

 

This free event at Bresnan Arena in the Taylor Center on the campus of Minnesota State University will be covered by NBA TV and steamed live on Timberwolves.com

 

 

 
 

Andrews Wiggins presser by MoVernie

Andrew Wiggins In Toronto For Endorsement Deal And Video

 

The NBA’s 2014 first overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins visited his Alma Mater in Toronto, Glen Shields Public School (Concord, Ontario) on Monday to formally announce a major new endorsement deal with Canadian based BioSteel Sports Inc.

Andrews Wiggins Biosteel presser by MoVernie

 

BioSteel is a sports drink producer whose products are in wide use among both professional and amateur athletes. They were the first Canadian company step up and sign Wiggins to an endorsement contract.

 

Team BioSteel also includes NHL All-Star Carey Price, NFL All-Pro Dez Bryant and Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow. Their products are often found at pro sports camps.

 


Wiggins filmed a commercial for Biosteel while he was at Glen Shields Public School.

 

 

 

Wiggins presser1

What Is Andrew Wiggins Worth To The Toronto Raptors?

It didn’t take long for the Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin to let the world know the number one overall draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft is up for grabs. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and possibly others are considered to be possible franchise changing players, so Griffin didn’t have to wait long for his phone to ring.

“I think we’re very open-minded,” Griffin said. “We will try to get radically better, much quicker. We really feel like there’s a sense of urgency in improving our team as a whole and we’re going to look for the right fit and we’re very open-minded to what that really means.”

The rebuild in Cleveland has taken longer than anyone expected and adding yet another young inexperienced talent who needs minutes to develop along side of the Cavaliers six first round draft picks from the past three years probably sets them back another year or two.

Wiggins would be the safe first overall pick for the Cavaliers. The small forward has other worldly athletic gifts and has shown a willingness to defer to other star players – an absolute must for anyone playing alongside Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Embiid could be the center in the draft to build a team around, but he has a history of back problems and after drafting an injured Anthony Bennett last June, the Cavaliers should be gun shy. Parker could be the next great power forward, but Cleveland bet on Tristan Thompson in 2011 and unless they are planning on moving their current young starting power forward at the draft, taking Parker could put Griffin in a tough spot this summer.

Trading their first overall draft pick isn’t the only way for the Cavaliers to accelerate their program, but it is good option and in a somewhat unique situation, the Toronto Raptors are probably the team Griffin should target to get maximum value.

A hometown boy, Wiggins is from Toronto and there hasn’t been a Canadian expected to go first overall at the NBA Draft since – well never. Wiggins has been a basketball sensation from before he went to Huntington Prep and when he played in an exhibition game in Hamilton, Ontario the season before heading to Kansas, he admitted he had never really been challenged up to that point. He was challenged in college however and went from the undisputed best NBA prospect to one of three and until his teammate Embiid was injured, he wasn’t always considered to be even the best player on his own team. But challenges aside, Wiggins is still atop most mock draft boards and no one should be surprised if he is taken first overall no matter which team holds the pick.

It wasn’t all that long ago the Raptors were being accused of trying to tank their season to get a shot at drafting Wiggins, but things don’t always turn out as planned. The Raptors became a playoff team with more depth than Toronto fans are used to enjoying and better prospects than this team has seen in over a decade. The Raptors found an All-Star in DeMar DeRozan and another star in Kyle Lowry, but they are still missing a transcendental player in the vein of former Raptor Vince Carter and they have never had a Canadian star player. Wiggins could be ‘that guy’ for Toronto. The question becomes, How much is Wiggins worth to the Raptors?

If they want him, it had better be a lot.

First overall draft picks usually aren’t traded because the team holding the pick values it higher than anyone could be rationally expected to pay, however, this year Griffin might just be able to extract that kind of value.

The Cavaliers are in the typical situation of a less than desirable NBA location, free agents are not beating a path to Cleveland and trading a lottery pick for a big name talent on a short term contract could be a career ending move for Griffin – let alone trading the first overall draft pick for a player that could walk after a season or two. Griffin needs to get a player he can control at least long enough that it doesn’t cost him his career if the player leaves down the road.

If the Raptors want Wiggins badly enough, they can probably accommodate Griffin’s needs.

It isn’t hard to identify the young controllable assets Toronto has that could peak Griffin’s interest. Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross have made great strides in their first two NBA seasons and still have two years left on their rookie deals. If Toronto were willing to take back Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson and include a future first round draft pick (say the 2016 Knicks pick) and a second round pick(s) that should get the ball rolling on discussions to land Wiggins.

Ross tied Carter’s franchise record for points in a game this season with 51 and Valanciunas had double-doubles in his first three playoff games and had over 30 points and 30 rebounds in his first two playoff games, so both of these players should be expected to break out next season. The Raptors will not want to trade them, however, it will take something painful to extract the Cavaliers 2014 first overall draft pick.

Almost every year there is talk about trading one of the top picks in the draft and it’s usually just talk. Either the draft isn’t that strong and teams can’t extract enough value to make a trade for a controllable asset worthwhile or the draft is strong and there is nothing anyone can offer to get a deal done. Things might be different this time. This year, there could be teams motivated enough to make something happen and the question will be, is it worth it?

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.