Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins blames struggles on organizational change

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 15: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 15: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins has been a frustrating player over the past couple of years, but he thinks he knows what the problem was.

Andrew Wiggins was expected to be a superstar after the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him number one overall with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pick as a part of the Kevin Love trade.

Outside of a few wow moments, Wiggins has been unable to deliver on that promise in the first five years of his career.

Despite being a bit of a disappointment during his rookie contract, the Wolves decided to give Wiggins a five-year max extension worth $147.7 million that will look like a poor investment if the young wingman is unable to improve.

Wiggins spoke about the criticism of his game during a solo press conference on media day, and he expounded on those thoughts during a recent episode of the SKOR North podcast blaming changes in the organization for stunting his growth as a player.

"“I feel like my first three years I was on the rise and getting better and better. And then as changers were made, I feel like there was a little decline,” Wiggins told Phil Mackey of SKOR North."

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One of those changes Wiggins is referring to was the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as head coach and president of basketball operations in the spring of 2016, but that shift in the organization came about after Andrew’s second year in the league.

If we take Wiggins at his word that the decline began after year three, that would point to the summer of 2017 when Minnesota traded for Jimmy Butler.

It’s well-known that Butler and Wiggins didn’t get along well during their time as teammates before Jimmy forced himself out of Minnesota.

The combination of Butler and Thibodeau was not a good fit for Wiggins’ personality or his game.

Andrew spoke about Thibs’ coaching style not jiving with him:

"“All the yelling and stuff, I feel, is not really going to change my mood,” said Wiggins. “But when a coach comes at me and is real, and tells me the real. I feel like I respect that a lot more than anyone just yelling.”“I feel like anyone can yell, anyone can raise their voice, but not a lot of people can be real,” Wiggins continued. “So that goes a long way for me.”"

Ryan Saunders’ coaching style should be much more effective with Andrew as he’s less of an old-school yeller of a coach, and more player-centric than Thibs ever was.

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I don’t think it’s right for Wiggins to blame all of his struggles on the environment around him, but I could see him being more successful in this new situation.

It’s clear that Wiggins needs the right coach and personnel around him to reach his potential. We’ll see if the Wolves have finally found the right formula to help Wiggins reach his peak during this five-year contract.