Andrew Wiggins has went from overhyped to underrated ever since he joined the Golden State Warriors. On the Wolves he failed to be good enough to make the Wiggins-Towns pairing Kobe-Shaq like and the Wolves couldn’t even get past the first round even with the addition of Jimmy Butler in Minnesota. All in all Wiggins has arrived in Golden State no longer having the pressure to be the main guy and he ended up looking like Kawhi Leonard closing out the Finals against the Celtics last season. Watching him knock down clutch shot after shot late in the Warriors’ series with the Celtics had me feeling like Kobe Bryant was looking down from above on Andrew Wiggins and his heart and soul had been taken over by the Black Mamba. I quite frankly felt he deserved Finals MVP but being that Stephen Curry would’ve got chewed alive had he not won his first Finals MVP in his hall-of-fame career it was only right he won it. After all he did average Jordan like numbers in the Finals averaging over 30 points per game with 6 rebounds and just about 6 dimes as well, but back to Andrew Wiggins who’ll be missing the rest of this regular season but his return will definitely make the Warriors look like a completely different team this coming post-season.
The one big difference about the Warriors this season as opposed to last season or any other season they won the championship or at least made the Finals is the lack of length and athleticism. They no longer have a Shaun Livingston coming off that bench, someone who did everything on the basketball court for the Warriors from rebounding,play-making,rim penetration, and serving as a reliable scoring option in the post. Shaun was a jack of all trades for Golden State but he’s spending the millions he made in the NBA now and no longer able to help the Warriors’s title chances this season. As far as Andrew Wiggins goes, do I believe his return will be enough to get the Warriors back in the Finals? If I was playing with house money I would say no because although he could step up and be the second option some nights behind Steph assuming Klay can’t shoot a rock in a ocean it’s just something about that meek bench of the Warriors that scares me. I wouldn’t be shocked if they did make the Finals because opposing teams will have to pick their poison between Curry,Klay,Poole, and Wiggins come playoff time and we can’t sleep on Draymmond because when we do he makes you remember he can score and knock down shots if needed, his job is primarily to play mental games with opponents and alleviate Curry from having to be on the ball and being a full-time point guard.
But we must remember Joe Lacob did hand out a 4-year contract to Andrew Wiggins with the expectation he was going to be winning multiple championships in Golden State and picking up right where Harrison Barnes and Kevin Durant left off. Not to mention Wiggins is in his prime as well so even though I would cringe at the Warriors winning yet another title it might just be something I might have to stomach, mind you this is a LeBron fan speaking here. Or this could be sort of like when Pat Riley went bananas giving out 4-year extensions to the likes of James Johnson,Justice Winslow, and Dion Waiters which completely took me in for a loop several years ago and maybe the extensions to Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins won’t necessarily equalize to the Warriors hoisting up any more Larry O’ Brien trophies. The competition is steep out West this season as opposed to last season where the Warriors getting out of the West was as easy as pumpkin picking and no real resistance. This time around Wiggins will have to deal with a couple wings who’ve been around the block a few times in Leonard,James,Durant, and I’ll just throw Porter Jr and Brooks in there for good measure because they can both get 25-30 on Wiggins any given night if Wigs gets caught napping. Hopefully he’s mentally ready for the playoffs with all the off-the court stuff he’s got going on because he is going to need to be more mentally and physically sharp then ever this time around.
I had the highest of expectations for Wiggins coming out of Kansas under head coach Bill Self. He wasn’t the same player at Kansas that he was in high-school, even then watching him in spurts at Kansas I got the vibe he was going to one day be the face of the NBA. Could’ve taken him a year or two but I had him getting there and making Wolves fans forget all the years of mediocrity after Kevin Garnett’s departure but due to his mentality he never got there. His career has taken a new route in The Bay and if he can manage to help the Warriors win yet another title this season he will be sure to get more recognition then anyone else on the Warriors’ roster aside from Curry. Sure Klay and Draymmond will always do what they do but if the Warriors have any hopes of repeating this season Wiggins is going to have to possess the heart of a lion much like he did against the Mavericks and then Celtics in the Finals. At this stage of the Warriors era, the game has sort of caught up to Steph,Klay,and Draymmond’s tendencies on the court. Much like Mavericks owner Mark Cuban referred to Wiggins being the catalyst on the Warriors in last year’s Conference Finals against the Mavericks, he’ll have to be that catalyst once again this season and big-time or the Warriors could be booking vacations earlier then expected this year instead of playing deep into June.