Like it or not, the fate of the Golden State Warriors’ title hopes for next season will fall on the shoulders of the newly acquired Andrew Wiggins.
There was never a scenario in which the Golden State Warriors didn’t feel the massive loss of Kevin Durant. While the front office did a phenomenal job of flipping KD’s decision into a young potential star in Andrew Wiggins, the dynasty remains hanging by a thread with Durant gone.
Last season was a gut punch for the Dubs. They got a taste of their own medicine, consistently getting beat down by a league-worst margin of 8.7 points per game. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson sidelined, the Warriors had little in their arsenal to defend themselves.
Don’t worry, the three-time champs will have a chance to wash away the pain next season. A healthy Splash Brothers, mixed with Draymond Green and a few notable young players could make for a fun run to the top. However, their success will rely heavily on Wiggins’ development.
Through the years, Golden State has always had a reliable third scorer. Only when their third option failed to perform would the Dubs truly struggle against anybody. For example, see the 2016 NBA Finals, when Harrison Barnes shot just 15.6 percent in the final three games as Cleveland won in seven.
Obviously, there were many factors that played into their collapse in 2016. But, the simple truth is the Warriors need a release valve on offense to take the pressure off of Curry and Thompson. If no one else can make the defense pay, Curry and Thompson can be overwhelmed.
This is where Wiggins will be most crucial. He has always been a consistent scorer, but can he perform when it matters most? Will his limitations as a shooter hold him back from properly complimenting the Splash Bros, or will his strength as a slasher open up a new and intriguing dynamic for the Warriors?
We just don’t know yet. A potential trip to Chicago would help us see more from Wiggins but as of now, all we have seen is 12 games from him in lineups that he will likely not appear in again.
For what it’s worth, Wiggins looked strong in his short time with the team. He averaged 19.4 points on what would be a career-high 45.7 percent shooting clip. Until we get a chance to see him compete alongside Curry and Thompson, there is no telling how successful Wiggins can be.