The Golden State Warriors shocked everyone last week when they traded D’Angelo Russell along with Jacob Evans, and Omari Spellman to the Minnesota Timberwolves to get Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 top-three protected first-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick.
It was surprising that the Golden State Warriors traded a player with a lot of potentials who only enjoyed a short stint after moving to the Warriors in July as part of a sign-and-trade deal for Kevin Durant. However, it seems D’Angelo Russell’s performances did little to convince the Golden State Warriors despite the abundance of potential and qualities he possesses.
The move for Andrew Wiggins is perhaps part of a big plan for a team rebuilding process for next season with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, both expected to be back fit by then. The Warriors seem to have identified Wiggins as the ideal Small Forward who could link up well with the trio of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Wiggins has already played in three games against Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns. Despite those games ending in defeat, Wiggins has shown glimpses of what he is capable of doing for the team. In his debut for the Warriors, Wiggins finished the game with 24 points.
In the recent game against the Phoenix Suns, Wiggins recorded 27 points, four rebounds, and five assists. This output represents an impressive contribution in contrast to the contribution of the Warriors’ leading scorer, 23-year-old rookie Eric Paschall, who averages 13.4 points per game.
However, there are some negatives to his game. Wiggins must improve if he is going to become a key figure in the Warriors team for now and the future. We examine the factors that prove whether Andrew Wiggins is the right fit for the Warriors and an upgrade of the departed Russell.
Wiggins Overall Statistics and Assessment
Statistics might sometimes be misleading, but it also represents the output of the players on the Basketball court.
In his 5-year stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wiggins averaged 19.7 points per game in 442 regular-season games. He also averaged 22.4 points per game with the Timberwolves this season before his trade to the Golden State Warriors. He is well on course to improve on it with a lot of games to go. His career-high average points per game tally (23.6) came in the 2016-2017 NBA season.
He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, and .6 blocks per game. Wiggins also played five games for Minnesota in their sole appearance in the playoff round during his time with the team. In those five games, Wiggins averaged 15.8 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists per game, .4 steals per game, and .4 blocks per game. He currently ranks 18th for the most average points per game, 90th for the most average rebounds per game and 59th for the most average assists per game. He is also in the category alongside nine other players who have scored 8,700 points before the age of 25.
These numbers represent a fair assessment of his strengths and weakness. It is clear to see Wiggins’ potency upfront and his overall contribution, considering the level and position of the team in the NBA.
However, questions about his level of consistency and his willingness to be a team player have always marred the career of a talented and underrated player. His best point-scoring season came in the 2016-2017 season when he recorded 1,933 points. His points tally have declined since then.
Is He the Right Fit For the Warriors?
It is early days to critically assess if Wiggins is the right fit for the Golden State Warriors team, but it is fair to say the signs are encouraging so far based on the three games he has played. It is evident he is gradually integrating himself into the team. Wiggins has scored 69 points, averaging 23.0 points per game for the Warriors in 3 games in addition to the 942 points recorded for the Timberwolves this season. He also has eight rebounds (averaging 2.7 rebounds per game), 12 assists (averaging 4.0 assists per game), five blocks, seven steals, and eight turnovers.
It is a fair return because he is playing in the weakest Warriors team for a while now. He would have to continue and improve these performances to give his side something to cheer about by the end of their disastrous season. It would be intriguing to see how he fares with the presence of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry in the team.
Next up for Wiggins and his new team is a difficult game against the Houston Rockets at home. This game presents the ultimate opportunity for Wiggins to warm up to the Warriors’ fans earlier than later in his Warriors career.