Andrew Wiggins finding Warriors home turns to first All-Star honor

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Wiggins knows finding home with Warriors key to All-Star nod originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ever since the Warriors drafted him all the way back in 2009, it hasn't been easy for anyone to steal the spotlight from Steph Curry. The two-time NBA MVP was named an All-Star starter for the eighth time Thursday.

And he took a backseat to teammate Andrew Wiggins.

The day belonged to Wiggins, as was seen in the Warriors' group chat when the news broke that he was named an All-Star starter for the first time before Golden State's 124-115 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the same team that the Warriors acquired Wiggins from in February of 2020.

"I think there was like a 30-minute delay before Draymond [Green] realized he didn't say congratulations to me," Curry said with a laugh after the win. "Think I got like a quick slide on the pregame edit. They had a whole highlight reel for Wiggs and then a little splash page came on at the end, like, 'Oh yeah, congrats Steph.' "

Curry never takes making the All-Star Game for granted, no matter how alert he is when he finds out the news. He was in his pregame nap when it broke and his wife, Ayesha, had already texted him before he woke up. Maybe it's the Warriors culture, maybe it just so happens to be his routine too but Wiggins, a self-proclaimed light sleeper, had to be awoken to find out he received the honor for the first time too.

He called being an All-Star "mind blowing" and is more than happy that two of the most important women in his life woke him up.

"I was taking my little pregame nap and my girl and my daughter just woke me up and said, 'You're a starter! You're a starter! I thought I was dreamin' for a second. I was like, 'What's goin' on?!'

"It was a good way to learn that I made it to the All-Star, and I'm thankful. I've been putting in a lot of work, and I found a home here. Hopefully I can keep it goin'. Hopefully it's not the last one, hopefully we keep goin' this year and we win a title. That's the next step."

Making your first All-Star Game is an honor, a résumé builder. Finding a home is something much, much bigger. Especially for Wiggins, someone who always has had the talent and finally is able to display the kind of game that many expected when the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Just two months after being taken with the top pick, the Cavaliers shipped him off to Minnesota as LeBron James came home. Wiggins was only 19 years old, and it already was clear what a business professional basketball is.

Wiggins averaged 19.7 points per game over his tenure with the T-Wolves. He averaged over 20 points per game three times with them, though that never resulted in many wins or accolades. As the T-Wolves piled up losses, Wiggins had empty stats to his name.

Now on a championship contender, Wiggins is averaging 18.1 points per game on his way to the All-Star Game. His performance Thursday night against his old team was yet another example of the complete player he has turned into while finding the right home as a pro. He stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Wiggins went 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-8 from 3-point range.

He didn't commit a single turnover and was a plus-16 in plus-minus.

His friend and former teammate Karl-Anthony Towns called it "beautiful" to see Wiggins named an All-Star. Curry called it "well deserved" and Klay Thompson said he "wholeheartedly" believes Wiggins earned the nod. Steve Kerr even said it was "one of the proudest moments" he has had as a coach.

That wasn't lost on Wiggins, not at all.

"It means a lot," Wiggins said of Kerr's comments. "This organization, the culture here, everyone here ... they have accomplished so much. To hear that, it means a lot."

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Wiggins' home is secure here in the Bay Area. The fit is seamless. The Warriors' trade with the T-Wolves has been won, no question about it.

Making an All-Star team is no laughing matter, yet sports can be the greatest comedy at times. Wiggins was ready for a new chapter after being traded from Minnesota to Golden State, and it isn't lost on him that his first All-Star Game is being held in Cleveland, the same place that was supposed to be his first NBA home.

"Full circle," Wiggins said. "It feels good. No better way to have my first All-Star than where it all started."

Life as an NBA player for Wiggins started with a Cavs hat on draft night. It quickly shifted to T-Wolves gear and now it's a trip to Cleveland for the All-Star Game with "Golden State Warriors" across his chest.

There's no place like home, and the third time has been more than a charm for Wiggins and the Warriors.

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