Andrew Wiggins has displayed great leadership qualities by being totally okay with coming off the bench in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoff series against the Kings. Even as he waits to hear from coach Steve Kerr whether he would start or come off the bench, Wiggins has made it known that he is ready and willing for whatever role that the team has for him. In a recent interview with NBC Sports, Wiggins even went ahead to compare his situation to that of Steph Curry who similarly embraced coming off the bench in last year’s playoffs. Curry’s willingness to put the team first is well known, and it appears that Wiggins is taking a cue from this attitude.
The attitude that Wiggins is showing is exemplary, and it is highly commendable that he is putting the team’s needs first. Curry’s status last season entering the playoffs was also questionable, but rather than insist on starting, he put the team first by being a reserve for the first four games. Similarly for Wiggins, his absence from the game has been twice as long as that of Curry, and Kerr is yet to announce whether he would take up a starting or bench role.
Wiggins has been off the game since the middle of February, so his readiness to take on any role assigned to him is impressive, and even more important. One thing that separates Wiggins’ current situation from that of Curry is their experience in coming off the bench. Curry has much more experience, having done so several times in the postseason before filling that role four times to begin last postseason. Wiggins, on the other hand, has played every one of his 662 NBA games (including postseason) as a starter. His willingness to take up a bench role supports the belief that he is holding the team’s interest as paramount and is willing to provide a form of leadership exemplified by Curry.
It is not a small feat to make such sacrifices as players often pride themselves on starting roles, but in cases when the team needs something more, that role may have to change. Wiggins is a great asset to the team, and his unique talents can be combined with those of other players such as Curry to give the Warriors an edge in their games. If Wiggins ends up coming off the bench, the team is not losing any significant player but rather gaining another asset that can provide critical support from the bench. With this attitude, Wiggins proves that he is a true team player and that in situations where leadership is required, he will rise to the challenge.