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Former Jayhawks Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Miles to battle it out for 2022 NBA title

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during Game 5 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks in San Francisco, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

With the 2022 NBA Finals set, it’s official that one former Kansas basketball player will be winning a world championship in the next couple of weeks.

Golden State forward Andrew Wiggins will have the most to say about which one it is.

Wiggins, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft after a standout season at KU in 2013-14, has been one of the Warriors’ best players this postseason. Golden State coach Steve Kerr called Wiggins’ performance in the Western Conference Finals “brilliant” and the former KU star, now in his eighth season in the NBA, will finally get a crack at a championship.

Drafted by Cleveland with the No. 1 overall pick, Wiggins was traded to Minnesota before playing a single regular season game with the Cavs. In five and a half seasons with the Timberwolves, Wiggins averaged 19.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game but the Wolves rarely won anything of importance.

Midway through the 2019-20 season, he was traded to Golden State. Playing in a lineup that includes Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and up-and-comer Jordan Poole, Wiggins has settled into a perfect role and become a scoring threat and defensive stopper.

“I don’t know where we’d be without him defensively,” Kerr said after a recent Golden State win. Wiggs has just been so good. He’s gotten so much better over the last couple years. He’s a perfect fit next to our guys.”

Boston’s active roster does not feature any former Jayhawks, but its coaching staff does in Celtics Director of Player Development Aaron Miles.

Miles, who is officially listed as an assistant coach on the team roster, was hired by Boston when first-year Celtics coach Ime Udoka took over prior to the 2021-22 season. Coincidentally, he was plucked away from Golden State and he now will be coaching against his former friends with an NBA title on the line.

Prior to joining the Celtics, the former KU point guard was on Kerr’s staff with the Warriors for two seasons after serving as the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors — Golden State’s G League affiliate — for two seasons before that.

Interestingly enough, Miles was asked about Wiggins during the summer of 2020, when he was still coaching with the Warriors and the COVID-19 pandemic paused the NBA season.

“I think he’s a perfect fit for what we do,” Miles said then. “A perfect second or third option on the team that could eventually possibly be the No. 1 option in a couple years when it’s his turn. We only had him for a short amount of time, but Steph had just got back healthy so we were going to get to see what those two would look like.”

It has worked out well to say the least. Although his scoring average and opportunities have dipped during his two full seasons and part of a third with Golden State, Wiggins has managed to stay in the upper teens.

Beyond that, earlier this season, he was named an All-Star Game starter for the first time in his career.

Far more important than any of his offensive production, however, has been his defense, particularly in these playoffs, where he has successfully helped Golden State stave off Ja Morant and Luka Doncic en route to the NBA Finals.

Wiggins will have his work cut out for him again in the Finals against Boston, which features star scoring threats Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But Wiggins sounds ready for anything.

“I love taking on the challenge,” he told C.J. Holmes of the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. “Tatum, Brown, they’re the best offensive players on Boston, so it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

Game 1 is slated for 8 p.m. Thursday on ABC.

Comments

Bryce Landon

The NBA is so woke, leftist, and sold out to Communist China that it makes me want to puke. And Steve Kerr is the embodiment of all those things; I hate his guts. I hope Golden State loses this Finals.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Chris Bailey

Sadly, you're correct and Kerr is one of the worst. I won't root against Wiggins but I can't stand the NBA. I haven't watched it regularly since the Jordan era and sadly, Kerr was there then too.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Trace Stark

Classy… regurgitate freely, perhaps in public whilst expressing disdain for those with differing opinions.
Make friends, influence people.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Tony Bandle

Is my memory fuzzy but wasn't Steve Kerr on the sidelines along with the best team money could buy, Arizona, watching Danny and the Miracles do it in 1988??!!

6 months, 1 week ago

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Clarence Glasse

I checked and you're RIGHT!

6 months, 1 week ago

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Edward Daub

John Feinstein wrote a book "A Season Inside" that documents the 1988 college basketball season.

Danny Manning and Steve Kerr are two of the players discussed in that book.

Feinstein has written several great sports books, including "The Punch" and the "Bobby Knight" book.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Andy Godwin

My somewhat tainted memories of Andrew Wiggins during his one year at KU - he was not good at finishing against contact at the rim and he was more interested in being the #1 draft choice than winning a NCAA championship. Losing to #10 Stanford (60-57) in 2014 when he was supposedly the best in college basketball was embarrassing. Mr. Wiggins goes 1-6, scores 4 total points, has 1 assist, and 4 turnovers. Unfortunately, Joel Embiid, who was more talented was injured and didn’t play in tournament.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Brett McCabe

Love Steve Kerr. Not only a great, great coach but also someone who understands that his status can be used to try and impact the common good. I wish that more coaches (like Gabe Kapler) and players would come forth and use their voices, rather than protecting their wallets.

And, though I'm not a Christian, my understanding is that Jesus was a hard-leaning leftist, who absolutely spoke against "hate", especially "hating" someone simply because they want to protect small children. To paraphrase Ghandi: I like your Christ. Your Christians, not so much.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Robert Brock

Do not use the word “Woke” unless you are black, aight?

6 months, 1 week ago

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Daniel Cummings

Well said, Brett McCabe!

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

So, I was not going to chime in on this thread until Mr. McCabe attacked Christians for seemingly no reason. But.... #1 "woke" is not owned by any color. That is just crazy. If u were being sarcastic...good job, ya got me. #2 (This is my Biden impression. He loves to show he can still count) Kerr is entitled to his opinion, but he is obviously no expert on guns or politics. His opinions are as relevant as my opinions on his usage of the pick and roll within his offensive philosophy (it doesn't, mostly because my experience is so small compared to his and he is coach) So, any conversation of the validity of his position is just as irrelevant. #3 (I don't think The Big Guy ever makes it past #3) The NBA HAS sold out to China. China literally commits every human rights violation (slavery, subjugation of citizens, limited voting rights [obviously the headliner is the enslavement of the Uyghers]) that the owners and players say America is guilty of. The corporations that endorse the players are the biggest recipients of these violations, as they are raking in billions. #4 (The Sleepy One would never make it this far) Attacking my religion does not progress any political conversation. As Christians, we do love everyone. We want the best for everyone. That does not mean we should just stand by idly while those who perpetrate hatred and fear attempt to seize power through manipulation. That would actually be very un-Christian. And I noticed that Mr. McCabe wrote some comment about Christians not protecting children...we do. We protect them from groomers.

6 months, 1 week ago

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RJ King

"no expert on guns or politics?" In fact, Steve Kerr is very well read on major news topics. His brother-in-law is a professor of modern Chinese history at Cambridge. When Kerr was a freshman in college, his father - President of the American University in Beirut - was murdered. He probably knows a thing or two about guns and politics.

Yes, the NBA has sold out to China. So has much of our nation. Kerr hinted at not being able to speak freely during the China trip, “It’s a really bizarre international story. A lot of us don’t know what to make of it. It’s something I’m reading about like everyone else is, but I’m not gonna comment further.” Kerr added later, “Obviously, there are tremendous financial forces at play here too. So how you reconcile all that, I don’t know.”

"As Christians, we do love everyone." Well, except Biden, Obama, democrats, and quite likely the brown, the black, the gay, and the poor.

"We want the best for everyone." Yes - like the song in the Book of Mormon, "You and Me (But mostly ME)."

"those who perpetrate hatred and fear attempt to seize power through manipulation." You mean like redistricting to reduce the power of the black vote? The use of the filibuster? McConnell's denying Obama a Supreme Court pick? Cozying up to Putin? Laws to oppress women? Begging state officials to find more votes? The Jan. 6 insurrection?

"We protect them from groomers." Possibly.
Just not from being shot in school.

Only reason for attacking Christians = hypocrisy

6 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

“Jesus was leftist.”

That’s funny 😂😂😂

6 months, 1 week ago

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Lance Hobson

Aaron Miles’ Oregon buddy Mike Lee is apparently a scout for the warriors.

As for the right wing brainwashing, you guys need to wake up and be objective for once. Steve Kerr is about as classy and well spoken a coach you’ll ever find. Try listening to him instead of blindly following the ignorant majority. The second amendment doesn’t mean no regulation. His comments make complete sense.

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

RJ, my brother whatever you are reading or listening to is not doing you any favors. We do not hate any of the people or races (can't believe i have to say this one) that you mentioned. We do not approve of abortion, denying science (can't define what a woman is [can't believe i have write that either], the world will end in 8 years if all carbon emissions are eliminated immediately, life on Earth started in a "primordial ooze", etc..) economic policies that are killing our economy, defunding the police, DAs that won't do their job, wide-open borders, supply lines down for a year with no end in sight, rising murder rates, crime rate, suicide rate, sex trafficking, human trafficking, and drug trafficking. I am sure I forgot a lot but I gotta take my 5 year-old twins to the range to learn gun safety.
BTW, Democrats are not your friend. They want you to feel like you need them. I know you personally know you don't need anyone but you, because you are strong. I would bet $5 you think Republicans are all racist (mostly because that is basically what u said in your post), but think about who has run the cities that house large majorities of black folk; they are run by liberals. I don't need to tell you how bad they have done, The war on poverty is a joke. All it has done is make liberal supported groups and business rich. It has kept black folk down.

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

And Steve Kerr reading The New Yorker and his dad being killed does not make him smart on politics or guns, He admitted he was too weak to speak out about the Uygher slave camps. He punked out. So, sorry if I could care less about his new-found bravery to speak out and advocate for meaningless gun controls. But, I am sure it makes him very popular in his San Francisco socialite club.

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

I am done...unless...

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

Jesus definitely preached of a paradise called Heaven (liberals believe in a eutopia) and he was loving and kind. Nothing in that description screams liberalism. Liberals are very kind to other liberals, but I don't think that was God's message. Jesus was a teacher and at times a forceful one. He called out hypocrisy. Most of all...he believed in individualism. He wants every human being on Earth to go to Heaven, BUT God left it up to each person to decide his fate,

He did not create a social net. He left us His Word to live by and I think if you ever read that Word, you just might change your mind about Him being liberal.

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

unless...

6 months, 1 week ago

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Edward Daub

it is miller time.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Joe Black

NBA = Great Athletes, Terrible Basketball

6 months, 1 week ago

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Lance Hobson

James Miller, the correct phrase is “I could NOT care less.”

6 months, 1 week ago

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James Miller

Lance, you are correct and I could not care less.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Oregon buddy and Jayhawk teammate.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Andy - I would suggest to you that Wiggins vs Stanford wasn’t terribly different than Ochai against unc or a lot of other teams at the end of the year. They put their best defender on him and focused their game plan around stopping him. In the latter case, the accompanying players stepped up. In the former, they didn’t, especially as you mentioned with the second best player out of the lineup with injury.

I remember him being frustrated sitting for most of the first half against dook as they built the big lead, then lighting them up as he led us back to victory.

I remember him having the ridiculously quick second jump. He’d be going back up for the tip/R when everyone else was just landing from the initial jump.

I remember him being exceptionally talented but still seeming like he wanted someone else to be the leader. In some ways similar to Remy. Just a much more limited cast that year, especially when Jo went down.

It is always disappointing to lose, and especially earlier than seeded.

6 months, 1 week ago

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Rob Byrd

If they want to protect children, try enforcing the laws that are already on the books, before trying to take away the rights that allow American citizens to "buy a cannon" or to own a 9mm that will "blow a lung out of the body"🙄
Fresh idea, know what you're talking about, before saying things that are patently, false. Not a single proposal that is normally brought up in these cases, would prevent any of these tragedies from occurring, at least any that would be Constitutional. And to suggest that TRUE Christians hate people of color, gays, or any other group of people, just shows how biased the left, truly is in their opinions. While, I'm sure that we ALL agree that the loss of our treasure in these 19 children that were murdered is tragic, we should also be able to say that the loss of 63,000,000, other children is EQUALLY, tragic.

6 months ago

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