When The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson dropped the hint that Bradley Beal is being hotly pursued by the Golden State Warriors, it sent the GSW fanbase into a frenzy on social media.
And can you blame Dub Nation for seeking to make a huge splash this offseason to boldly reawaken their dynastic dreams? Two straight years out of the playoffs is a very long drought after five straight NBA Finals trips; the recuperating Dubs are itching to burst out of the cellar and reclaim the throne.
Sure, we’re not even certain if this trade idea is more than a mirage...
Fun fact: Bradley Beal isn’t available. Things change, but I have a feeling this won’t change in the next six days.— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dieter) July 23, 2021
But hey it’s the offseason and Draymond Green is probably out there in Japan deploying his recruiting powers on Beal with Team USA as we speak! It’s the perfect time for Dub Nation to dream.
In defense of Andrew Wiggins
Of course, the question immediately becomes well...who would the Warriors trade to get such a prized (and expensive) acquisition?
Bradley Beal is 28-years-old with 1 year remaining on his contract and a player option for 2022/23, so a trade for him would probably cost something under the Anthony Davis ballpark, who was 26-years-old at the time he was traded with 1 year + Player Option remaining on his deal.— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) July 24, 2021
Andrew Wiggins’ name is apparently at the top of that speculation. Forbes’ senior sports analyst and GSOM alumni Patrick Murray broke down why:
Any deal for the Warriors would be centred around James Wiseman, the 7th and 14th pick in the 2021 draft, and future draft picks. They’ll need salary ballast, and Andrew Wiggins’ contract is the obvious match.
That in itself may cause a bit of an issue as despite a good season for the Warriors his value around the league still doesn’t match the $65.2M left on his deal. However, with only two years to run it’s not the crippling contract it once was.
Makes sense, but that’s tough for me personally. I’m a big time fan of Wiggins and his durability, size (6-foot-7 with a 7-foot wingspan), and newfound efficiency. “Maple Jordan” set career highs in FG% (.477), eFG% (.543), 3P% (38%), and 2P%(.529).He fit well alongside Stephen Curry and Draymond Green; what could he do alongside the deadly shooting of the returning Klay Thompson?
Per Synergy’s advanced stat tracking, he rated “very good” in many key areas, including pick-and-roll and isolation.
But the place where he really shined was defensively, morphing into “Two-Way Wiggs” guardian of the inescapable prison Wiggins Island. He served as the Warriors attack dog defensively, sticking with guards and wings and helping the Warriors get a top-5 defense. Can you believe that despite all the wild roster turnover, youth experiments, and injuries, the Dubs still were elite defensively? Wiggins deserves a ton of credit there.
Steve Kerr on Andrew Wiggins' defense: "We made it a priority in the offseason. We talked to him about potentially being an All-Defensive team player ... he's responded really well to that request."— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) January 16, 2021
All those accolades aside, Beal is clearly the more decorated and accomplished player at this point. Beal has helped his team to multiple postseason campaigns (albeit in the East...), became an All-Star and Olympian, and damn near won the 2021 scoring title if not for Curry’s offensive pyrotechnics. If the team DOES acquire Beal, Golden State’s firepower would be terrifying. I can’t blame fans for salivating over that potential.
You’re trading defense for CONSISTENT offense. You would literally have 3 guys in Steph, Beal and Klay who could give you 100 combined any night. That would be insane. I agree Beal defensively isn’t very good, but to be fair Wiggins defensively wasn’t that good until he got to GS— Newman’s Own⛄️ (@Mike_Newman19) July 24, 2021
last 2 seasons beal is at 31ppg with a 59 TS%. offense and defense aren’t of equal value when the level of offense is that high. be real— Jamal Cristopher (@Clippers24seven) July 23, 2021
if u get a chance to get beal & u don’t cause of wiggins “2 way ability” u taking steph for granted and he will demand a trade at some point.
Wiggins vs Beal (on the court)
You know, with all this talk about Wiggins defense and Beals offense, wouldn’t it be cool to watch those two skill sets collide in battle? Dub Nation HQ has curated some clips of these two hoopers going strength vs strength during the 2021 season.
Beal shot 6-of-13 from the field, 1-of-4 from downtown, with 3 assists and 3 turnovers when guarded by Wiggins. The Wizards won both games, and although Wiggins defended Beal well, all many will remember is Wiggins hacking Beal on a game winning 4PT play in San Francisco.
Although this trade seems more like a fantasy than a real option at this point, it’s fascinating to watch the fanbase share their perspectives on Wiggins’ value to GSW.