Spurs’ Leonard the blueprint for Wolves’ Wiggins

Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins' quiet demeanor is drawing comparisons to former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.

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Kawhi Leonard has quietly risen to stardom in San Antonio, hardly uttering a word as he captured an NBA Finals MVP, Defensive Player of the Year award and a maximum contract extension this summer.

Minnesota at San Antonio

His dynamic play on both ends of the court stands in stark contrast to his whisper-quiet demeanor off of it, thereby challenging the theory a player in the NBA has to be outspoken, brash and vocally assertive to be a true star.

In having the success he has in such short order with all the flair and charm that often accompany a star’s rise, he has provided the blueprint for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, another rising talent with little interest for self-promotion or on-court theatrics. Wiggins won Rookie of the Year last season and is averaging more than 21 points per game in his second year while also showing signs of becoming a top-tier perimeter defender.

And even though he has been followed by cameras since he was a 14-year-old prodigy growing up in Toronto, Wiggins doesn’t seek out the spotlight. Actually, he much prefers it to be pointed elsewhere.

The similarities in game and personality are so striking that Wolves veteran Kevin Garnett predicted the two would be going toe-to-toe for the next decade.

"Makes the matchup a little more personal," Garnett said. "Although these two guys are quiet, their games are monstrous. Their games speak volumes. So don’t let the quietness fool you.

"Drew is coming into himself. Kawhi is coming into himself. Should be a really, really good matchup for the future."

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Leonard dominated the matchup last week, holding Wiggins to 2-for-11 shooting in a Spurs win in Minnesota. The two face each other in San Antonio on Monday.

The Wolves are taking the same approach with Wiggins as the Spurs did with Leonard. They’re not trying to force him to be something he is not.

"Everybody does it differently," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You can’t change people. So with Kawhi, because he’s Kawhi, we just talk about communication on defense. Everybody, all coaches, moan and groan about that. Other than that, he can be as quiet as he wants."