Andrew Wiggins has definitely had one of the funkier seasons in recent memory for the Golden State Warriors. At this point, the former No. 1 overall pick probably rivals Janet Jackson as the physical embodiment of the phrase, “What have you done for me lately?”
Over a span of just six months, Wiggins has morphed from being the Goose to Steph Curry’s Maverick (when Klay Thompson was out) and an obvious All-Star pick to being the alleged beneficiary of a K-pop star’s Twitter musings, a scapegoat for his team’s struggles and a guy who Steve Kerr shouldn’t play.
Wiggins knows full well, though, that he can swing the narrative back in his favor by bringing his A-game as the quest for the Larry O’Brien Trophy heats up.
“There’s no better way to do it than in the playoffs. I want to help this team go far and win it all. I feel like it would be a perfect story for all of us,” Wiggins said. “I want to show people what I can do. I want it bad. And there is no bigger stage out there.”
How he performs on that stage could determine his own fate as well as that of his team.
What’s at Stake
Wiggins averaged 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per contest in 2021-22. He also made a respectable 46.6% of his shot attempts overall and 39.3% from deep. While many players would kill for that kind of line, the 27-year-old understands that he has something to prove during postseason play.
“I wasn’t in a great rhythm, and I wasn’t really making many shots,” he said of some late-season struggles. “I feel like I was in a funk and maybe it affected both sides.”
He firmly believes, though, that he’s trending in the right direction now. And he fully expects that to continue along the upward path during the playoffs.
“The last couple games, I was in a better place. Percentage-wise, I was shooting better. I feel like I got better at a great time. It’s playoff time now, so I’m ready for it.”
A strong performance during the next several weeks could go a long way toward securing his future. Wiggins is set to pull down $33.6 million next season, but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2023. If he wants to secure another big payday — be it with the Warriors or some other team — now is the time to go out and earn it.
Meanwhile, it’s all about championship No. 7 for the Warriors. And with questions about Curry’s health, the Warriors’ total lack of a true center, the inexperience of their youth contingent and the difficult path that lies before them looming, the team is counting on Wiggins to be his best self.
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Wiggins Lights it up in Practice
As it happens, reports coming out of the team’s latest practice session have indicated that Wiggins is on another level currently. If he can carry that momentum into Game 1 against the Nuggets on Saturday and beyond, Golden State could be in really good shape.
“He was assertive and aggressive, and he looked fresh,” Curry said of Wiggins, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s what we want to see. Whether we gotta wear our practice jerseys and remind him of what he did today and how he played, whatever we can do to motivate him in that respect, we’re going to do.”
Added Kerr: “He had a great practice. I mean, he dominated… I loved what I saw, just in terms of his looking for his shot, attacking the rim, being aggressive defensively. Andrew was great.”