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NBA Finals- The Redemption Of Andrew Wiggins: From Taunts To A Key Part Of The Warriors

The Canadian forward, number 1 in the 2014 draft, has gone from being mocked on a losing team to being decisive for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

The 'Peter Principle' is a theory by the Canadian author Laurence J. Peter according to which, in companies with a more hierarchical organization, an employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence. That is, until he receives a charge that exceeds his capabilities. The theory was born as a satire, but it caught on.

The problem for Andrew Wiggins, also a Canadian, was starting at the top. As number one in the 2014 draft, he was required to be a star even before he made his NBA debut. And his trajectory has been the opposite: after years trying to fill roles that were big for him, he has found his place as a secondary player on the Golden State Warriors.

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Wiggins, who always lived under the suspicion of shrinking on big nights, shone beforeLuka Doncic in the previous tie, and now he has been key for the Warriors to come back from the Finals with two wins, one in Boston (17 points, 16 rebounds) and another in San Francisco (26 and 13), which leave them only one more than being NBA champions.

AN EMPTY STAR

Andrew Wiggins (Toronto, 1995) won the genetic lottery. He is the son of Mitchell Wiggins, shooting guard for the Houston Rockets in the 1980s (he also played in the Finals against the Boston Celtics in 1986, months before being suspended for drug use), and sprinter Marita Payne, double Olympic silver medalist in Los Angeles. Angeles 1984 (4x100 and 4x400). From that mix he inherited a physique that earned him the nickname 'Maple Jordan' ('The Maple Jordan' or the Canadian Jordan).

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In the letter with which he announced his return to Cleveland in 2014, LeBron Jameshe mentioned a number of teammates he was 'looking forward' to playing with. The name of Wiggins, whom the Cavaliers had just selected with the number one draft, did not appear on that list. Although he continued training, it was understood that he would not even make his debut with the team. A month and a half later, he was sent to Minnesota for Kevin Love.

In five and a half seasons with the Timberwolves, Wiggins lived a reverse 'Peter Principle': each year one step lower in search of a role that fit him. In his first year he was the undisputed star of the worst team in the league, giving rise to a story that would haunt him until his departure, that of a player who inflated numbers without results.

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Nor as second sword of Karl-Anthony Towns, the number one pick in the 2015 draft, nor as the third, when they coincided with Jimmy Butler , changed that perception. In fact Butler, who took them for the first (and only) time, would end up forcing him out, desperate for what he perceived as a lack of blood on the part of the youngsters. It also didn't help that Wiggins signed a five-year, $150 million deal. Privileged physique, star salary, game to be defined.

SECONDARY AND DETERMINANT

When the Warriors learned that Kevin Durant was going to Brooklyn, they convinced the forward to do so via trade so they could get at least something in return. For a few months he was D'Angelo Russell , a point guard who had just been an All-Star but didn't fit in with the team. It was clear that this was a temporary solution. What was not so obvious is that the final would be Wiggins.

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These two years that the Warriors have spent fallow, marked by injuries to Klay Thompson (torn cruciate ligament first, and Achilles later) and Stephen Curry(broken hand) have served to give a break to a nucleus that was going to the limit, develop the young people who today lend a hand, and to transform Wiggins.

That player who defined himself from the touchdown was key against Dallas defending Doncic and he is being against the Celtics taking care of Jayson Tatum and helping on the rebound. The one he was used to having in his hands has learned to be harmful without him in a system that rewards him. Determinant from secondary tasks. Along with Curry, the Warriors' most consistent player in these playoffs.

And this, that he has taken such a radical turn in his career to be as valuable on the biggest possible stage, that he is one of the culprits that the Warriors are one game away from winning the ring, has opened a debate in the NBA. About the 'Peter Principle', yes, but also about the importance of context for a player to reach his full potential.

"Nobody ever talks about teams. Whenever a player doesn't deliver what is expected of him, the player is always blamed," said his teammate Draymond Green. "I think [Wiggins' game] is a reminder to just about every player in the NBA that circumstance is everything," Wiggins' coach Steve Kerr explained . "Here he has a totally different role. And he has fit in perfectly."

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