In Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a wonderfully gifted youngster who knows how to play ball for sure. That as a given, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has called on the youngster to step up his game, especially the 22-year-old’s defensive game.
And guess what, it seems Wiggins has heard his coach and has made a concerted effort with the performance of his overall game, much to the delight of Thibodeau who only this week heaped words of praise on the youngster.
After last week’s win over the Thunder, Thibodeau told the press: “I meant to mention last game, Andrew is really doing a lot of things out there for us,” adding: “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.
These are good signs for both the team and Wiggins, and yes it took a little longer than the team would have liked to see this marked improvement, but the numbers lately show the youngster has bought in to Thibodeau’s game-plan. He achieved a career-high three blocks when the Timberwolves beat the Pelicans, and only three games before the Pelicans victory he racked a season-high nine rebounds.
Thibodeau said: “He adds so much to our team,” adding: “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 is contracted to be at Minnesota for a while having only just signed a five-year, $148 million contract extension late last year. With that kind of money, the expectations go up, and Wiggins is expected to do more than score points. If anything like the last few weeks are to go by then Wiggins’ newly found form should turn the Timberwolves into a dangerous proposition come postseason.