When the Golden State Warriors acquired Andrew Wiggins from the Minnesota Timberwolves, many in the NBA world were left scratching their heads.
Dubs’ General manager Bob Myers sent guard D’Angelo Russell, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans to the T-Wolves for Wiggins, a 2021 top-three-protected first-round pick, and a 2021 second-rounder.
It wasn’t surprising that Myers sent out Russell, who was only brought in so the Warriors could operate with roughly a $175 million payroll going forward. What was shocking is that Golden State went for Wiggins, whose cap hit will be north of $33 million by the time his contract expires after the 2022-23 season.
Myers opened up about why he pulled the trigger on the deal with KNBR in February, saying, “I don’t know that the fit was, but just looking forward a little bit in roster construction and seeing — guessing, we’re all guessing when we make any decision — that the need for a small forward was pretty glaring for us, and looking at the draft and free agency, realizing it might have been difficult to fill that need. So, that was some of the thinking behind it.“
Wiggins averaged 19.4 points, and 4.6 rebounds, while shooting 33.9% from the 3-point line over 12 games with the Warriors. The 25-year-old had a usage% of 25.4 over his sort stint in the Bay Area, which will surely come down with a healthy Dubs team next season.
With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all expected back and healthy, Wiggins will not be asked to be a go-to option offensively like he was in Minnesota. The 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year won’t have the pressure he did with the T-Wolves, and should excel in a roll where he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.
Wiggins took more than 20% of Minnesota’s field goal attempts over the last four seasons (per NBA.com), something that won’t happen with Golden State. He will be the team’s third-or-fourth option on offense, and will benefit from the ball movement heavy system of head coach Steve Kerr. He finished with an eFG% higher than 50 for the first time in his career last season.
Where the Dubs need Wiggins to step up is on the defensive end. He has the athleticism and versatility to be a plus-defender, but hasn’t been able to put it together yet. His 112.8 defensive rating ranked 424th in the NBA last season among players who appeared in more than 20 games. The T-Wolves gave up 6.9 less points per 100 possessions when Wiggins was off the floor, per NBA.com.
We have waited for Wiggins to find his footing in the pros, and this seems like the perfect situation to do it. To me, he is like a more talented Harrison Barnes, and should be able to find a level of success he hasn’t seen before playing with three future Hall of Famers.
If Wiggins can contribute more than 15 points per game, be an effective slasher/cutter on the offensive end, while improving his defensive skills, it will have a big impact on the Warriors’ title chances.
What do you expect from Wiggins next season? Or do you think Myers will look to package him in a deal to acquire another star?
On to some more links:
This was the toughest season in Kerr’s coaching career. He spoke to the media on Tuesday, and challenged one group of players to put the work in this offseason. (h/t NBC Bay Area’s Drew Shiller)
Kerr was also asked about the status of the Big 3. The head coach says he’s expecting the core to be ready to go in time for the 2020-21 season. (Bleacher Report)
The boys are back! Check out some video of Warriors players getting some work in at the Dubs’ practice facility on the Warriors’ Twitter account.
Golden State is one the NBA’s premiere franchises, but it wasn’t always this way. Clutch Points’ Ashish Mathur went back and looked at every notable free agent signing in franchise history by year.
How will the pandemic impact the Dubs? NBC Bay Area’s Josh Schrock says how the team handles the NBA Draft is key to getting back to title contention next season.