New Golden State Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins made an impressive debut in a close game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Saturday’s Golden State Warriors game was all about firsts. It was Andrew Wiggins‘ first game with the Dubs, the first NBA game for Bay Area native Juan Toscano-Anderson‘s first-ever NBA game, Ky Bowman‘s first 10 plus assist game, Jeremy Pargo‘s first game since 2013, and the Warriors’ first home game since the death of Kobe Bryant.
There were a lot of bright moments during this game that will get any Dubs fan excited for what’s still to come. The score suggests that it was close. And at times, that might not always reflect how the game actually played out.
But that actually was the case last night.
These young Warriors gave the Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money. And right in the middle of the action was their newest and biggest acquisition of the trade deadline, Andrew Wiggins.
No matter how you felt about D’Angelo Russell, it’s in the past now and it’s time to look forward to the future. That’s a little bit easier to visualize with Andrew Wiggins on the roster.
And as much as you might have liked Russell, his longevity with the Warriors was always going to be a cause for concern. Not because he is a bad player, but because he didn’t particularly fit with the style that led them to five straight Finals and three championships.
During this long injury-riddled season, you grow accustomed to seeing this team lose on a nightly basis. It’s just the nature of things right now.
And I don’t think anyone thought that Andrew Wiggins was going to come in and save the season for us. I mean, we’re not even really asking him that anyways.
Steve Kerr echoed that sentiment when he first spoke to the media about acquiring the former No. 1 pick and how they will try to integrate him into the system.
"“Minnesota needed him to be a star. And we’re not asking him to be a star. We’re asking him to play a role on a team that already has some star players. There’s a huge difference there.”"
Kerr is right. Wiggins’ biggest problem since entering the league in 2014 was that he’s had a lot asked of him since day one, and many people have wondered if he’s capable of carrying a big load.
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This is what every number one pick goes through. And some handle it better than others. Because some are better positioned than others. Whether that be in talent or overall fit within the organization.
Obviously, Wiggins’ six years in Minnesota would tell you that no, he isn’t capable of being that guy. But he also spent six years playing for the Timberwolves, who have one of the worst winning percentages over the past 20 years.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily about your talent, but how you fit within a particular system. That’s where Wiggins can truly shine with the Warriors; becoming a part of something bigger.
In his debut last night, he posted 24 points (8-for-12 from the field, 3-for-4 from three, 5-for-9 from the free-throw line), five steals, three assists, two rebounds, and one block. That’s a pretty solid first impression.
But a stat-line can only go so far in showing us how he fits. In my opinion, watching Wiggins in action only added to the numbers you see above.
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He was aggressive, attentive, and most importantly— comfortable. That’s something I don’t think you can say about his time in Minnesota. I think he fits in pretty well with this squad.
As he continues to grow with them, I remain optimistic about how things will look once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson make their full returns next season. As many people have pointed out, he reminds me a bit of Harrison Barnes.
And I mean that in a few ways. He’s someone that can capitalize on the spacing that Curry and Thompson provide. And I think he has more offensive upside than Barnes did.
But I also think that he will benefit far more within this style of play than he will outside of it. For example, you don’t hear much about Harrison Barnes anymore, even though he’s found a nice home with the Sacramento Kings.
Andrew Wiggins, for the first time in his career, can take a deep breath. He’s relocating to a larger market and he’s losing a whole bunch of weight off of his shoulders.
Maybe we’ll start to see some of what people expected out of him in Minnesota now that he can play within a system that capitalizes on each individual’s strengths instead of relying on any one particular man to do everything.