Timberwolves Fans Welcome Wiggins, Others At State Fair
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – It was a festive atmosphere, almost pep rally-like, as Minnesota Timberwolves fans welcomed the team’s four new players to the state on Tuesday.
After a month of speculation around Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins, a trade sending Love to Cleveland was completed over the weekend. In return, the Timberwolves got Wiggins, this year’s No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, and Anthony Bennett, last year’s No. 1 overall pick. The Timberwolves also worked out a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire Thaddeus Young, who will be the team’s new power forward in Love’s place.
The three newest Timberwolves players were introduced, along with the team’s first-round draft pick Zach LaVine, in front of a packed house at the Minnesota State Fair. Each player gives the Timberwolves a different skill set, but they all said in the end the goal is to win and get the franchise back to the playoffs.
A Budding Superstar?
Two years ago, Wiggins was the top-rated high school recruit in 2013 coming out of Canada. He ended up at Kansas for one season before declaring for this year’s NBA Draft, where Cleveland took him as the No. 1 overall pick. When that happened, the speculation began that Wiggins might end up with the Timberwolves in a trade for Love.
Wiggins dominated in every way in college for the Jayhawks. He was their top scorer, could run the floor, was athletic and was perhaps most known for his defense. Considering the circumstances and trade talk, Wiggins has held himself well over the past month.
“I just had to stay around my family and the people who support me,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been working out a lot, and I’m excited. I’m ready to get going.”
Experts and coaches alike have said Wiggins has all the ability and essentials to be a superstar in the NBA and has already been compared to Dominique Wilkins.
Young Coming In As A Veteran
Thaddeus Young has some big shoes to fill as the Timberwolves traded arguably the best power forward in basketball. But he said it’s not about filling Love’s shoes, it’s about helping Minnesota win and get back into the playoffs. In Love’s six seasons, the Timberwolves never appeared in the postseason.
Young has played seven seasons in the NBA and is coming off one of the best of his career, averaging nearly 18 points per game and a little more than six rebounds. To say he is excited about working with this new young group is an understatement.
“I’m ready to work, let’s go,” Young said. “I’m ready to help lead this team back to the playoffs. It’s going to be fun to watch, it’ll be crazy.”
Bennett Here To Work Hard, Win
Anthony Bennett was all smiles as he was introduced to fans at the State Fair on Tuesday, but look for him to be a fierce competitor when he steps on the Target Center floor. He’s still very young by NBA standards in only his second season and is coming off an injury-plagued rookie year that prevented him from reaching his potential.
After a successful NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, he’s now looking for a fresh start with the Timberwolves on a young squad buzzing with potential.
“We’re all ready to work hard, but I’m definitely going to have a chip on my shoulder this year,” Bennett said. “I just want to have fun and win games, that’s really what it’s all about.”
LaVine Excited To Play With New Teammates
Zach LaVine was beaming with excitement Tuesday as he looked to his right and talked about his new teammates. A month ago, he was the most athletic new player on the Timberwolves roster and had a good showing in the NBA Summer League leaving fans wanting more.
Now he’s got new teammates in Wiggins, Young and Bennett, and the core seems to be set for the future of the organization.
“It’s been a crazy month,” LaVine said. “It’s an unbelievable group and we’re all ready to go to work. We’re ready to put on a show for Timberwolves fans.”
Those fans who haven’t experience much success with the Timberwolves will have to wait some time for all this talent to develop the NBA game, but they seem patient while at the same time excited for what the future could hold. Now it’s time to let that talent develop and keep it here, which should be easier to do if the team starts winning consistently.