Thursday, June 16, 2022

Former Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins wins NBA title with Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) celebrates with forward Otto Porter Jr. (32) as time winds down against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) celebrates with forward Otto Porter Jr. (32) as time winds down against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)


Former Kansas Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins became the 14th former KU player to win an NBA championship on Thursday night, following the Golden State Warriors 103-90 over Boston in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

Wiggins was sensational throughout the Finals — on both ends of the floor — and likely only missed out on winning the Finals MVP award because he’s teammates with one of the greatest players in league history in Steph Curry, who won this year’s MVP honor and his fourth NBA title.

With the game in the bag, the two players smiled big and embraced on the floor with 1:01 to play and the Warriors leading by a dozen. Wiggins then checked out for the last time this season — replaced by NBA veteran Andre Igoudala — and went to the bench with an blinding smile on his face.

"This is a dream come true," Wiggins told ESPN on the celebration stage after Thursday's win. "I wouldn't be here without my teammates and everyone around me, so I'm just enjoying the moment and loving it."

Drafted No. 1 overall in the 2014 after his lone season at Kansas, Wiggins was quickly traded by Cleveland to Minnesota and he spent six seasons with the Timberwolves before being traded to the Warriors in 2019. While in Minnesota, Wiggins scored plenty — averaging 19.7 points per game there — but did little else and did not win.

That all changed when he went to Golden State, where he has averaged 18 points a game but also emerged as a defensive stopper and now a winner.

There are plenty of analysts, fans and Wiggins teammates who would say — and have said in no uncertain terms — that the Warriors would not have won the title without Wiggins' strong series. Curry was one of them.

"He’s shining on the brightest of stages in the playoffs," the Finals MVP told the Associated Press ahead of the Game 6 clincher. "You can tell how much he’s enjoying it. It’s just amazing to see things working out in his favor in terms of kind of dispelling all the narratives around him and who he is as a basketball player right in front of your eyes.”

After back-to-back double-doubles in Games 4 and 5, Wiggins finished Game 6 with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting (4-of-9 from 3-point range) with with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. His 3-pointer from the wing with 1:43 to play that put the Warriors up by 15 was effectively the dagger in a game Golden State dominated after crawling out of an early 12-point hole in Game 6.

The Golden State win ended former Jayhawk Aaron Miles’ bid to win a title as an assistant coach on the Celtics staff. Miles worked with the Warriors for a handful of years before joining the Celtics.

Wiggins becomes the sixth Kansas player from the Bill Self era to win a title — joining Mario Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, Brandon Rush, Wayne Simien and Markieff Morris — and is the first since Morris helped the Los Angeles Lakers win a title in the bubble in 2020.

Jayhawks to win an NBA title

Clyde Lovellette – 1954 with Minneapolis and 1963 and 1964 with Boston

Maurice King – 1960 with Boston

Wilt Chamberlain – 1967 with Philadelphia and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers

Jo Jo White – 1974 and 1976 with Boston

Bill Bridges – 1975 with Golden State

Wayne Simien – 2006 with Miami

Jacque Vaughn – 2007 with San Antonio

Paul Pierce – 2008 with Boston

Scot Pollard – 2008 with Boston

Mario Chalmers – 2012 and 2013 with Miami

Brandon Rush – 2015 with Golden State

Sasha Kaun – 2016 with Cleveland

Markieff Morris – 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers

Andrew Wiggins – 2022 with Golden State


RJ King 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Wiggins was the perfect fit for the Warriors, and visa versa. He never wanted to be "The Guy," he just wanted to win. So of course, during the season (All Star), and Games 4 & 5 he WAS "The Guy." His defense on the best opposing player, game after game, team after team, was superb and relentless.

This GSW team has many similarities to the 2022 Jayhawks. Self said something like, this may not be the most athletic (best?) team, but they THINK they are. GS wasn't the most talented team, but they were the most "together" team. Like the 2022 Hawks, their defense won the day. Boston's #1 defense was amazing, but GS broke it down just enough. Point Guard by committee ran a superior offense. Fighting through injuries and missing championships, then finally being healthy for the championship. The blend of youth and veterans. And over the years both teams have preached ball movement and the extra pass.

Two pretty decent former college guards as coaches. Self + staff probably incorporate Kerr's core team values: competition, mindfulness, compassion and joy. Dream big Hawks for 2023!

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

My word, a perfect fit? Anytime a past Jayhawk wins a NBA ring, it is worth noting. Dial it down a couple of levels though.

He has been around GS since 2020. How did that perfect fit work out last season for GS? He scored more for GS in 2020/21, than when they really needed him with all the injuries they had in 2021. He plays about 75% of the game. Average. Rookie of the year in the NBA, then for a $30m a year guy he is average the last 6 seasons. He had two critical playoff games, but was below his averages for GS the other 20 playoff games this post season. For all the 22 post season games, he was around his average each game. He was only an All-Star this year. Klay came back on Jan. 9th, the All-star game was Feb. 20th. GS started to jell when Klay was starting.

joy? The refs swallowed their whistles in the 2nd half that was a man's game last night. Steph driving the lane in the 4th, was sheer determination.

Congrats to AW, in his 3rd season at GS. He found a team where being average can work for him. Heck even get a ring or two. As long as he can get water he should stay there.

Eliott Reeder 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Rodney's entire enjoyment of sports is based on being argumentative as hell, tearing down other people's assessments, and bringing the aggressive hot takes, no matter how off-base. He's basically the Stephen A Smith of the KUsports.comment section.

Kyle Neuer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The Warriors have had critical injuries to key players the last couple of years(Thompson out entirely, Curry and Green out for extended stretches) that more than accounts for the Warriors last two seasons. Without Wiseman, this season was a crapshoot. Wiggins was far from mediocre, just, like in MN, not surrounded with enough talent. As the 3rd or 4th option in SF, his personality and skills perfectly fit the role Kerr and Co have for him.

David Gisi 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Andrew Wiggins has an infectious smile. You just can't help but be happy for him.

Trace Stark 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Great series. Enjoyed watching the last 3 games especially. I believe the NBA has the finest collection of athletes of any sporting league worldwide, and the competitiveness in post season is often compelling. Fantastic to see Coach Miles and Coach Kerr embracing in the handshake line post game… continued success to AM’s burgeoning career! Wigs was clutch. Rock Chalk#22! Wardell the second, aka Steph, was so surrealistic at moments. Kerr only has room for 1 more before he switches to toe rings. Maxwell Smart has taken flopping to exciting new levels. The Chaminade kid complained constantly & choked late. Celts with Stevens be finals bound again soon… and often. Great Series!

Jeff Coffman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

RJ King...although I enjoy your thing is incorrect. Coach Self has been coaching longer than Kerr and it would be better to say Kerr incorporates many of Self's coaching values. I would also include family in Self's mantra.

RJ King 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yes - family a big part of Self basketball. Kerr's was a similar concept - Strength in Numbers. I wasn't really saying who may have stolen from who, just that they are similar philosophies. And that if you put certain things first, winning will follow.

Both had good relationships with strong father figures. Self is 3 years older and has indeed coached longer. Kerr's experience is from multiple perspectives - his mantra rooted in 15 years as a player, and years as a broadcaster and GM. Biggest influences were Lute Olson, Phil Jackson, Popovich, D'Antoni, and Gentry. He also learned what to avoid from dealing with certain coaches and GM's who were not as skilled or forthcoming.

Both are simply outstanding at what they do!!!

Micky Baker 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations Wiggins! That is all I got to say. I generally don't watch the NBA and I didn't watch the finals so I can't say anything from what I saw with my own eyes. I think it's good that there are Jayhawk alumni associated with the status that goes with a pro league championship game or series.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Eliott - That might be the most insightful analysis.

Some people who know a lot more than me have commented on AW being the MVP if not for Steph, and even Steph apparently thinks he was critical to their success.

Some people have also pointed out that the Warriors probably don’t even make it to the finals without his D in the last series on another MVP.

In a series where Draymond could only dream of being average (bad matchups?) AW was the critical 3rd amigo.

Most can only dream of being so average.

Freedman Moor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Trace Stark: Toe ring? Nah, nipple ring. Don't forget they play in San Francisco now.

Uh ou, now I've gone and got myself in trouble.

Robin Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Wiggins was amazing and his fit is ideal. Really hope the Warriors can keep him.

Now, let's get some things straight, Draymond was hands down the second best player in this series despite poor scoring. This isn't horse after all. And I don't just mean on the Warriors. Go back and watch his defense. The Warriors were always the better the team in terms of talent, togetherness, whatever dimension you want to bring up. The media is just full of Boston homers who got really stoked about an excellent half season. Don't get me wrong, Boston is great and talented, but it's like everyone forgot that the Warriors have 3 first-ballot HOFers, one of whom is a GOAT contender, another of whom is the best defender of his generation, and the third of whom is one of the five best shooters of all time (and all around hooper).

Wiggins deserves to get the caliber of attention he's received and he's definitely a difference maker. They needed him and he was arguably their third best player, and he brought critical skills and attributes, and produced legacy-definining contributions. It's completely reciprocal where the outsized impact of Steph and Dray enable him to be the best him and he fills a perfect gap between them. It's really outstanding.

Rob Byrd 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I thought that I was becoming a Rodney fan because he had become more of a team player, but I was wrong, he is still a total prick. I'll be honest, I thought Wiggins was a bust at KU, because, other than West Virginia, he showed zero fire or desire to lead his team, but he was far from AVERAGE in the playoffs. 🙄

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Robin - That’s interesting analysis; hands down? I personally have no basis for disputing your assertion but based my comments on what seemed to be a consensus from the non-screaming idiot talking heads (I mostly ignore SITHs), and even read Draymond being critical of his performance. Maybe I misunderstood.

I think it was Coach Self that referred to AW as the mvp of non-SC players. I tend to agree with Coach Self as a default but that’s just one opinion.

Rob - AWs year in Lawrence definitely didn’t end the way anyone wanted, but a bust seems a bit over the top. They were conference champions and a number 2 seed with a really young roster and too much individual dysfunction. The upperclassmen were Justin Wesley, Naadir Tharpe, Christian Garrett, Niko Roberts, Tarik Black. Seems to be overachieving based on the roster, but the end was really disappointing. I like to remember AW at KU for the duke game.

Robin Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The media goes by boxscore so he shot poorly and didn't score very much and Draymond echoed it for sure. There was talk about sitting him and for a pivotal stretch in one of the games Kerr did that, playing Bjelica instead, which helped open up the floor on offense with the threat of his outside shooting. And of course, Kevon Looney was awesome too. But Draymond continues to be a generational defender who quarterbacks their defense, with preternatural awareness and anticipation, one of the sharpest minds in the game. You can see him always shading Brown and Tatum to drive to their weak side (left) and doing all kinds of other team and individual defensive wizardry. On top of that invaluable contribution, he also moves the ball and playmakes, can board and start the break, etc. So even when his shot is terrible, he's still a plus on that side (especially paired with Steph; they compliment each other beautifully). I highly recommend watching some of the breakdowns by Thinking Basketball to really see some of the elite genius level defense he brings. I think it was Game 4 where Gary Payton II is helping in the middle off his guy in the far corner and he stumbles, and Draymond sees it instantly and does like a skip help closeout, causing White to step on the sideline for a turnover, which is just something you'll practically never see. There's also a great moment in I believe in Game 6 where he forces the baseline drive (going left) and as he's back pedaling he does like a switch defensive handoff to Looney, where he goes behind Looney as he up steps from help to the driver who then tries to dump it off to Looney's man, but Draymond steps in for the interception -- and that's just 4D chess right there. The video on youtube on the Thinking Basketball channel is called "Steph Curry and Draymond Green are an all-time duo | NBA Finals Game 6 analysis" and the thumbnail says Perfect Pairing. Games 4, 5, and 6 analysis all worth watching for sure. Now, not to overcorrect here cuz again Wiggins was awesome, Looney was awesome, GPII was awesome, and despite the narrative Klay was awesome, so the ability to start Wiggs on Tatum, switch to Draymond, switch to Klay, it was just nuts, and as a result Tatum covered something like 10 extra miles on the court than anyone else just trying to get free.

Robin Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I should mention, I also recommend watching BballBreakdown's videos about it too, cuz between the two channels they really highlight a lot of the actions, reads, communication, mistakes, and otherwise. Definitely my favorite sources for film analysis on youtube.

Creg Bohrer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I don't think we saw AW's full potential at KU because he didn't want to take a chance and get hurt. Getting injured in college could have cost him a lot of money at the next level and I can't blame him for that. To say he was bust I think is a little harsh. Congrats AW.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.