The Minnesota Timberwolves finally moving on from Andrew Wiggins was the highlight of this year’s trade deadline. They dealt the former top pick along with a first-round selection to the Warriors for D’Angelo Russell.
The initial response to this trade was more positive from the Timberwolves point of view. Bringing an All-Star and a close friend of their franchise player made a lot of sense. This trade is also logical for the Warriors. D’Angelo Russell would be a difficult fit next to Curry and Thompson, and they also received a high-value draft pick.
Wiggins was viewed as a short term fit. Trade rumors circulated following the trade, with most predicting that the Warriors would include him in a deal for a star. However, he may be the perfect third option for the Warriors, next to the Splash Brothers. Here are the main reasons why.
Another long term question surrounding Wiggins was his reliability defensively. Despite having all of the physical tools to be a good defender, he has not been one so far. However, he has shown signs of improvement since joining the Warriors. In his 12 games with Golden State, his steals and blocks per game have increased by 0.6 and 0.4 respectively. New teammate Draymond Green expressed his views on Wiggins’ defensive potential after just three games for the Warriors.
“I think he can be an All-Defensive (team) player. That’s one of my goals for him, as the leader of this team, one of my things that I really want to push him on. He has all the tools. He has the athleticism.”
Head Coach Steve Kerr highlighted Wiggins’ fit in Golden State well.
In Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins took nearly 19 shots per game this season. However, he will not be required to take as many next year. He is coming into a team where he will not be asked to play at an All Star level. This reduced role in the offense will lead to a much improved efficiency. He has been criticized for his shot selection, often taking ill – advised mid rangers. On the Warriors, he will be asked to shoot open threes and use his athleticism to cut and finish around the rim. He will not have to resort to difficult shots after a long isolation play. This decrease in volume will most likely lead to a large improvement in efficiency.
One of the biggest improvements to his game this season has been his passing ability. Although his assists average only went up by 1.2 per game, his improvement has been on full display. He is making smarter decisions with the ball in his hand. He has already had a 10 assist performance with his new team, and they will increase given the elite shooting of the Warriors. Consistently finding the open man and making the extra pass could be vital to his teams success.
While Andrew Wiggins has a lot to improve on, he has shown that he will be key to the Warriors’ future. Improvement’s in his defense and playmaking have made him into an all-around wing who will be a key contributor for the franchise.