Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has spent much of his summer surrounded by trade rumors. Coming off of a productive first full season in the Bay Area, Dubs fans thought at many points over the last few months that the 26-year-old would be sold high as part of package in a blockbuster trade to land a superstar to play with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
That seems like it won’t be happening anytime soon.
With Thompson and 2020 second overall pick James Wiseman battling injuries last season and Green posting a paltry 7.0 points per game, Wiggins was very often the second option for scoring behind Curry. Though the Warriors couldn’t make the playoffs, it wasn’t at the fault of Wiggins, who trailed only Curry with his 18.6 points per game last season.
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The scribes at ESPN.com apparently noticed Wiggins’ solid campaign with Golden State and are expecting some more of the same, as they placed Wiggs at No. 77 in the 11th annual NBArank countdown.
“To get the final NBArank prediction, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players: Kevin Durant vs. James Harden, Luka Doncic vs. Zion Williamson, Stephen Curry vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo… and the list goes on,” the article reads. “We asked, ‘Which player will be better in 2021-22?’ Voters had to predict what they expected from each player during the season.”
Only numbers 100 through 51 were revealed on Tuesday.
Wiggins Had Career-Best Shooting Numbers Last Season
At 77 on the countdown, Wiggins ranks just better than Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert, Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dillon Brooks of the Memphis Grizzlies at 80, 79 and 78 respectively. Detroit Pistons point guard – and No. 1 overall pick – Cade Cunningham and Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris place just better at 76 and 75.
“One big question: Can Wiggins replicate his two-way effort again for the Warriors?” ESPN NBA reporter Nick Friedell asked. “One of the biggest knocks on Wiggins after being acquired by the Warriors was whether he would provide the consistent effort on both ends of the floor that wasn’t always apparent during his time with the Timberwolves. ‘Two-Way Wiggs’ answered that question in his first full season with the Warriors – drawing praise from coaches and teammates for his ability to change the game on the defensive end.”
Wiggins was not on the top-100 list one year ago, but with his big 2020-2021 season, he made a significant jump. In 71 games, the Canadian averaged 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest, while shooting a career-best 47.7% from the field and 38.0% on three-pointers.
Which Warriors Will Make the Top 50?
When the remaining members of the list are revealed NBA fans should expect to see a few Warriors faces among them. The most obvious top-50 player from the Dubs is Steph, who is almost certain to land in the top-10 and possibly even top-five.
Green will also certainly be in the top 50, but where he lands is a bit more of a question mark. If the ranking were based solely on scoring and shooting, Green would be nowhere near the top, but given his overall impact on the game through his passing, rebounding and defense, the veteran should land in the high 30s or low 40s.
Thompson and Wiseman are definite possibilities for spots in the top-50, but given their injury troubles, there is no guarantee. If Thompson reverts to pre-2019 NBA Finals form, he could be placed in the top 20.
If Wiseman makes the cut, it’s all due to his potential. Though he may not be able to hit the court by the season-opener against the Lakers, there’s a reason why the Warriors were asking for so much in a potential trade involving the 20-year-old.
In just 39 games as a rookie, Wiseman posted 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per contest while shooting 51.9% from the field. If Thompson and Wiseman come back strong before the All-Star break, the Dubs could have five of the top-100 players in the NBA.