Canada, you have your new NBA All-Star.
On Thursday, it was announced that Toronto native Andrew Wiggins has been selected to represent the Warriors as a starter in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. It’s a crowning achievement for Wiggins, who is averaging 18.1 points per game while shooting a career-best 40.4 percent from 3-point range for a Warriors team that ranks among the NBA’s elite.
It’s also important to step back to see how serious this moment is for basketball in Canada.
Wiggins becomes the first Canadian All-Star since Nets head coach Steve Nash made his last All-Star appearance 10 years ago in 2012. Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire is the only other Canadian to earn an All-Star selection, representing the New Orleans Hornets in 2004.
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While Wiggins is only the third, there are many more to come, with the likes of RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray the Canadians most likely to win such an honor in years to come.
Wiggins’ All-Star selection is another tangible reminder that Canada is currently in a golden age of basketball.
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Now let’s dig deeper into what this means for Wiggins.
While it should come as no surprise that a former No. 1 overall pick has been voted into the NBA All-Star Game, Wiggins’ path to this point hasn’t exactly been conventional.
Two months after being drafted first by the Cavaliers in 2014, Wiggins was traded to the Timberwolves before donning the wine and gold. Less than a year later, he was named the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year. Although he was averaging 23.6 points per game in his third season, Wiggins was not receiving the league-wide recognition that many of his accomplishments warranted.
In year 6, he experienced another change of scenery.
Since the Warriors moved to acquire Wiggins at the 2020 trade deadline, he has stepped into a new role and contributed to Golden State’s winning culture. In his second full season with the Warriors, Wiggins’ play has been a key component of the team’s position as a legitimate contender for the NBA title.
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While Klay Thompson was sidelined for the first 2 1/2 months of the season, Wiggins became the team’s second offensive option behind Stephen Curry and still managed to take on a number of tough defensive assignments.
Looking at the big picture, you have a player recognized as an All-Star by the fans, the media and his peers. How poetic is it that Wiggins will make his All-Star debut in the same city where he was introduced as the No. 1 overall pick some eight years ago?
We may not have seen it happen like this, but this day is the representation of a long time to come.
Let’s celebrate Andrew Wiggins, NBA All-Star starter.