Joining Wiggins at the podium were fellow newcomers Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and rookie Zach LaVine, key members of Minnesota's new high-flying nucleus that may need to carry a boarding pass when it steps inside the NBA lines.
A "member of that LeBron James genetic pool," as ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf called him last summer, the NBA's newest freshman phenom addressed the crowd gathered at the Minnesota State Fair to discuss the next step of his journey and that of his new team.
Wiggins seemed calm, cool and collected. More importantly, he seemed appreciative of finding a franchise more than happy to welcome his potentially transformative talent:
Wiggins: "I wanted to play for a team that wanted me. I felt the love the second I got to the airport." #EyesOnTheRise— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) August 26, 2014
Love's exit may have put Minnesota in an unfortunate situation, but the Wolves were lucky to find a talent like Wiggins. He oozes superstar potential, and those types of players aren't typically available to a team in Minnesota's shoes.
Backed into a corner by Love's desire to leave, the Timberwolves figured to be headed into damage-control mode. Then Wiggins popped up on the trade radar, and Minnesota's fate seemed dramatically improved in a flash.
"Andrew Wiggins changes everything," wrote SB Nation's Paul Flannery. "One of the best athletes in the draft, he has the potential to become a dynamic two-way player. Given his age (19) and contract status (rookie), he's exactly the kind of young talent a team losing a star player should focus their rebuilding effort around."
Even more appealing than his natural gifts and CBA-restricted bargain salary, though, is that he sounds committed to helping the Timberwolves both now and in the future:
Wiggins: "I'm going to try my best for Minnesota." #EyesOnTheRise— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) August 26, 2014
Wiggins: it's a big relief. It's comforting. I'm situated in a spot I know im going to be in for a very very long time— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) August 26, 2014
Yet, Young may have come across as the most excited to be in Minnesota.
The 26-year-old sat through the Philadelphia 76ers' dismal 19-win campaign last season. The Sixers had their reasons for embracing the loss column, but Young admitted the experience wore on him:
Thaddeus Young said last year in Philly was the toughest of his career. "Everyone could see that," he said.— Phil Ervin (@PhilErvin) August 26, 2014
And despite likely inheriting Love's vacant starting spot, Young clarified that he won't be looking to replace the departed superstar.
A versatile forward with a nose for the basketball, Young said he plans on bringing defensive tenacity and all-around effort to his new team:
Young: "I'm not trying to replace Kevin Love." Says he hopes to play defense and hustle to make a difference on the court #EyesOnTheRise— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) August 26, 2014
Oh, and a long overdue postseason berth:
Thad Young: "I'm ready to get to work. I'm ready to get this team back to the playoffs. It's been too long." #EyesOnTheRise— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) August 26, 2014
Young also offered up some high praise for Minnesota's brawny big man, Nikola Pekovic:
Young: "Pekovic is the strongest guy I've ever played against. Just wanted to put that on the record." #EyesOnTheRise— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) August 26, 2014
Echoing the comments made by coach-president Flip Saunders at Saturday's press conference, the newest Wolves discussed Minnesota's changing identity.
With Ricky Rubio running point and above-the-rim finishers like LaVine and Wiggins on the wing, these Wolves should fly. And they know it too:
Wiggins: "We have a lot of freaks here."— Phil Ervin (@PhilErvin) August 26, 2014
Minnesota averaged 99.82 possessions per 48 minutes last season, via NBA.com, which ranked fourth among the entire league. That number could seemingly increase as the Wolves now employ one of the youngest, deepest collections of athletes in the business.
Whether that explosiveness will translate to the win column right away remains to be seen. The Wolves went 40-42 with Love on board last season, and the fully loaded Western Conference didn't exactly hurt itself this summer.
But Minnesota should gain a better understanding of where it's at and where it needs to go now. This is a new era of Timberwolves basketball, a fresh beginning for a franchise in dire need of one.
No longer will wins and losses be viewed on their potential impact on Love's future. That chapter is closed, and the Wolves can put their focus on improving as a whole.
Someone will need to pick up the pen and start scripting the next portion of their story. And a motivated, hungry Wiggins might be the right man for the job.