Andrew Wiggins improvement defined in 12.5 seconds

The Golden State Warriors recorded a 122-121 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night, largely in thanks to 41 points from Stephen Curry.

Curry was often a one-man show on offense, despite facing multiple double teams and coming up against one of the league’s elite perimeter defenders in Jrue Holiday. Kelly Oubre (19 points) hit two massive three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, while Kent Bazemore added 18 points off the bench.

On the other end of the spectrum, it was a down night offensively for Andrew Wiggins, who has otherwise been superb since the All-Star break. He was just 4-for-15 from the field and 1-for-8 from three-point range, tallying just nine points in a little over 33 minutes of action.

Small forward Andrew Wiggins has proven he can provide an impact on both ends of the floor for the Golden State Warriors.

However, despite being poor offensively, the last two plays of the game defined the improvement in Wiggins’ overall game this season.

With 12.5 seconds to play and the Warriors down one, he was left wide open on the wing and had the opportunity to put his team in front. The three-point attempt missed badly, symbolizing his night on that end of the floor.

Fortunately for Wiggins and the Warriors, Oubre came up with an offensive rebound. He was fouled by Brook Lopez on the putback attempt, calmly draining two free throws to put the Warriors back on top by one with 7.7 seconds remaining.

After the timeout, the Bucks eventually got the ball in the hands of Khris Middleton, the Bucks number one man with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined with knee soreness. Middleton’s attempted game-winning three-pointer was met with a Wiggins block, his third of the night.

In previous seasons, Wiggins’ impact was measured purely on offense. Much to the frustration of fans, oftentimes that impact could be little to none, perhaps even a negative detriment to his team.

In games like this against Milwaukee, a previous version of Wiggins would have allowed it to be chalked up as a really bad, poor game.

But this is a new version of Wiggins, one that can have a positive impact on the game despite struggling offensively. Although he missed the go-ahead shot, he remained ‘locked in’ and helped the Warriors secure the win in a different aspect.

In an otherwise stuttering season for the Warriors, Wiggins’ defensive improvements have been a major bonus for a franchise aiming to re-enter title contention next season.