Andrew Wiggins missed Friday’s game against Washington as the Timberwolves swingman deals with a personal matter.
Wiggins traveled to Toronto to be with family members after the recent death of his grandmother, which Wiggins’ brother Nick mentioned Thursday on Twitter.
In the tweet, Nick Wiggins thanked his professional team in Brazil for allowing him to miss time to visit family and said that his grandmother had died.
When asked, coach Ryan Saunders didn’t address whether the Wolves expected Wiggins to play Saturday night against Houston. Wiggins’ status for that game is unclear.
“One thing I will say is family is family and we are family,” Saunders said. “Andrew has the time that he needs to deal with any personal matters, as everybody within the organization does.”
Wiggins has been playing some of the best basketball of his career of late. Over his past seven games, a stretch that started with the Wolves’ first matchup vs. the Wizards, Wiggins is averaging 29.1 points, 5.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game.
The Wolves were able to win at Washington on Nov. 2 without one of their best players in Karl-Anthony Towns, who missed that game serving the first of a two-game suspension for a fight with 76ers center Joel Embiid. The Wolves won that game 131-109.
“Guys don’t need to try to be Andrew Wiggins,” Saunders said. “Guys just need to continue to play within the system and be a little sharper within their roles.”
Wiggins’ absence meant Jeff Teague was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench on Wednesday. Teague scored 18 points off the bench in his first game back from an illness against the Spurs on Wednesday.
“Jeff is a vet in this league and that was just a great example of Jeff staying ready and being ready to come in as needed where you might not be starting that game,” Saunders said. “But it didn’t matter and I think that’s just a credit to him, a credit to this group. No matter who’s on the floor we want Jeff to be aggressive.”
Saunders said at Thursday’s practice that the Wolves are constantly adding to the schemes and reads they make on both ends of the floor. They didn’t install everything in training camp, Saunders said. That would be too much information.
“That’s the one common misconception is that training camp is just to install your whole offensive and defensive package and then you just play the season,” Saunders said. “You need to make sure that you’re being fair to these players and you’re not overloading them.”
Just how much has Saunders installed?
“We probably have 30 percent of our offensive reads and everything in right now,” Saunders said. “We know that it’s going to continue to evolve as much as we can handle. We may only get to 40 percent of what we want to do for the year. That’s just how it goes. It’s about reacting.”
Saunders said some of Wiggins’ vision on offense has accelerated the learning curve in that area.
“He teaches us reads — all those guys do …” Saunders said. “We’ll have a read and react where the ball goes through the top of the key. He’ll snap off or he’ll pin down in the corner and that’s something we say, ‘Hey, we were going to wait until All-Star break to put in, but Andrew did that.’ Let’s show it on film, walkthrough it one time and we’re here.’ ”