The Minnesota Timberwolves had a brutal 2014-15 season, posting an NBA-worst record of 16-66. But there was one very bright spot in Minneapolis: Andrew Wiggins. The first-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft played all 82 games for the Wolves (after being traded by the Cavaliers before the start of the season) and averaged 16.9 points and 4.6 boards a game. And at the age of 19, Wiggins was a team leader in a locker room decimated by injuries.
Yesterday, his sterling debut season earned him Rookie of the Year honors. He received 110 first-place votes from the 124 sportswriters and broadcasters on the award panel. Nikola Mirotic of the Bulls was second with 14 first-place votes.
Wiggins the only Timberwolves player to win the award.
“This should bring a lot of hope for the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Wiggins said. “This is the uprising. We’ve got a lot of young talent. and we accomplished a lot this year, all the young players. So moving forward the future’s promising.”
In accepting the award, Wiggins thanked his family, teammates, coaches — and the Cavs. Kind of.
He said that playing in Minnesota gave him an opportunity in his rookie year that probably wouldn’t have existed had stayed in Ohio.
“My expectations were a lot different here than they would’ve been in Cleveland,” Wiggins said. “I came in here as a starter and was expected to do a lot more than I would have on the other team. That’s the thing that helped me grow a lot this year. With all the minutes comes experience and wisdom playing the game, so I think that really helped me a lot.”
The Rookie of the Year trophy wasn’t the only swag Wiggins picked up this week. He also got a special edition sneaker from Adidas.
The Andrew Wiggins Crazylight Boost 2015 Rookie of the Year Edition celebrates Wiggins’ achievement with “AW” and “ROY 2015” on the tongues, as well as colors and prints on the shoe itself drawn from his life and career. The blue, red, and gold reference his playing days in high school and college, while the maple leaves call out his Canadian heritage.
New hardware. New shoes. It’s been a good week for Wiggins, even if it came after a rough season for his team. But with a load of young players, and a potential number-one pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the future looks bright for the Timberwolves. And Wiggins is anxious to be a part of it.
"We just needed the right pieces. I feel like now we've got them,” Wiggins said. “We've got a nice young core."
Photos: Jim Mone/AP (ROY trophy), Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images (action), Adidas (sneaker)