If it wasn’t for Steph Curry’s brilliance through the early part of the season, Andrew Wiggins would be the Warrior’s best player.
Wiggins has been insanely good over the past seven games for the Golden State Warriors. After his 35-point outburst against his former team, Wiggins has been excellent on both ends. While scoring 24 points per game over the past seven games, he’s been tasked with handling the opposing team’s best offensive players as well. He has been playing with aggression on both ends of the floor.
Many people were calling for Andrew Wiggins to be traded during the offseason. They wanted the Warriors to make a big splash and acquire a star player. This did not happen for a number of reasons though. First, when you get a quality wing player, you want to hold onto them. Wing players are one of the most difficult players to find in the NBA. Second, the Warrior’s know exactly what they are getting with Wiggins. A slashing forward, who can defend and occasionally hit the three. Finally, the trade market was relatively weak during the offseason. Ben Simmons is the biggest name being shopped and the Philadelphia 76er’s were not interested in Andrew Wiggins.
Before Wiggins had been traded to the Warriors back in 2020, he was always cited as a player that had the potential to become a great defender, whether that was because of his body type or his overall athleticism. But Wiggins’s defensive potential never really showed until he was dealt to the Warriors. Many people considered him a bust early on in his career.
Being labeled as a bust was less of Wiggins’s fault, and more so the media’s. They over-hyped him coming out of high school and college. He was compared to NBA legends like LeBron James and Michael Jordan. In fact, he was actually given the nickname, Maple Jordan, since he was from Canada and very good at basketball. The hype grew so big, that unless Wiggins was leading a team to the Finals, he was going to be labeled as a bust regardless. The fact is, Wiggins has always been a great scorer but the Minnesota Timberwolves never built around him and Karl Anthony-Towns correctly.
The Timberwolves expected two young players to guide them to the playoffs, but instead; the two young players built bad habits and became lethargic because they didn’t have veterans to help them understand stats weren’t everything. After being dealt to the Warriors, it was clear that Wiggins was never going to live up to his max contract, but he was going to be the perfect fit next to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The defense would have to be glued to the Splash Bros at all times, so this would give Wiggins more room to slash into the paint.
Fast-forward to the present, Andrew Wiggins is finally playing aggressively. From absolutely posterizing his former teammate, to hitting a buzzer-beater on Kevin Durant. You can tell there is a different energy from Wiggins. He is taking advantage of mismatches and making the defense pay for leaving him open on the perimeter. On the defensive end, he is flying around the court, getting steals, blocking shots, and deflecting passes. He is showing everyone why the Warriors have kept him, and why they plan to do so for a very long time.