Why Andrew Wiggins has been everything the Golden State Warriors have needed
The 27-year-old has risen to the occasion this season, and he's helped his side take a 3-0 lead over the Mavericks in the Conference final.
When the Golden State Warriors acquired Andrew Wiggins back in 2020 for D'Angelo Russell, many thought that they were getting a player that was nothing but damaged goods.
Wiggins was expected to be Canada's version of Michael Jordan, as he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers (later traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves) with the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
But now with the Warriors, while he hasn't exactly lived up to initial expectations, Wiggins has slowly proven to be one of the most important players on the team.
He has been the Warriors' best defender on Luka Doncic during their Western Conference Finals playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, limiting him to just 53% shooting from the floor.
Three down. One to go. pic.twitter.com/S9Myixm5t5— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 23, 2022
Wiggins is also shooting 41.5% from three himself, despite it once being considered a weakness in his game.
"It's just a testament to the vision of the fit that he was going to be when the trade happened," Stephen Curry said.
"We know we needed everybody to step up for us to get back to this stage, and for us to win one playoff series let alone to where we are now."
Changing the narrative
Wiggins has drawn a lot of criticism for not being "the guy" for the Timberwolves - he was once supposed to be the face of that franchise and make that team a championship contender for years to come. However, the way he's changed his game has been noticed by his teammates.
"That's a guy who has been criticized for being lackadaisical and the beat goes on, you've heard it all, yet on the biggest stage, he's come through," Draymond Green said.
"It's great to see, absolutely amazing to see him pick up his level of play."
The Warriors have a history of being champions over the greater part of this last decade, picking up three championships and making five Finals appearances since the year 2015.
Kevin Durant was a significant part of two of those championship runs, winning Finals MVPs in back-to-back years. While Wiggins isn't necessarily KD, it doesn't mean his contributions are going unrecognized.
"He's worked so hard to get to this point," Klay Thompson said. "We've just got to help him become a champion, and he will obviously help us. What he did tonight ... that's what we brought him on for. He is such a talented player. I'm so grateful we have him."
It's good to see Wiggins finally finding his niche in this league and being in a situation where he can use his athleticism, size and shooting in a winning situation.
We shall see if this helps the Warriors earn their fourth ring in less than a decade.