Prodigal son Andrew Wiggins returns to Toronto

He has had exceptional moments, mixed with those that show his inexperience. When you have a big game, now go out and do that consistently on an every night basis. He’s just going to continue to grow.” “That’s the next thing, the next part of his game. He has all the tools.”

Wiggins – the first overall pick in 2014 NBA draft – will play his third career regular-season game in his hometown on Thursday when his Timberwolves visit Air Canada Centre.With the promising talent on Minnesota’s roster – Wiggins, Zach LaVine and a potential future MVP in Karl-Anthony Towns – compounded with a weakened Western Conference, some projected Wiggins could make his first playoff appearance in 2017. “The game has kind of slowed down for me a little bit. “Everyone expected him to be like today’s LeBron or yesterday’s Kobe or whatever. The coaching change brought a new system.Wiggins is averaging 22.2 points a game this season, 20th among the NBA’s scoring leaders. In time he has the opportunity to be that type of player. It’s all about putting in the work, not giving up, and not having any doubts. As the Toronto Raptors prepared for Thursday’s game against Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Raps superstar DeMar DeRozan was asked if he sees any of himself in the young Canadian Timberwolves standout.“Nah, he’s way more athletic than me,” said DeRozan, a two-time all-star. While scoring has always been a strength of his game, he’s attempting – and making – more three pointers.“He’s looking a lot more comfortable, picking and choosing his spots. But the burgeoning squad has begun the season 6-15 and sits below all in the West standings except the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks. He delivered one of the most sensational dunks this season last month when he soared up over Golden State’s JaVale McGee with an outstretched arm that looked almost superhuman.Then there was his explosive career-high 47-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers.“I’m finding myself, finding things I’m good at and things I need to work on,” Wiggins said after the Laker game. It’s not a convincing start to the chase for the eighth playoff seed.The 21-year-old from Vaughan, Ont., is playing for an inexperienced team newly led by veteran coach Tom Thibodeau. Today he’s a very, very talented player but he’s nowhere on the level of those guys, just because of Father Time. “Once he hones in, he’s capable of being everything he wants to be. He’s had a couple of big games so far this year but now it’s about doing it consistently,” DeRozan said of Wiggins. Many are watching eagerly to see how Thibodeau guides Wiggins and the other youngsters.“He’s a young kid, has a world of talent – one of the most talented players in the league – but the expectations were so unfair on [him],” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. I’m able to read defences better now and see how the defence is set.”On the opposite end of the spectrum was this week’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, when the Timberwolves’ growing pains were glaring next to a veteran opponent. Wiggins had just 11 points that night on 5-of-12 shooting as he was blanketed by Kawhi Leonard, who himself rolled for 31 points on just 15 shots.From DeRozan’s early years in Toronto, he can relate to what a raw talent like Wiggins is experiencing during tough early years with a losing franchise.“You gotta go through the tough times to really understand how to win,” DeRozan said.Minnesota ranks 10th in offensive efficiency, yet 25th among the league’s 30 teams in defensive efficiency – which helps to explain the losing. Just give the kid a few more years.”While his production dipped a little in late November, his average points are up over his first two NBA seasons.