On Tuesday night in Minnesota, the Golden State Warriors were without the services of Klay Thompson. They desperately needed scoring help beyond the 35 points provided by Stephen Curry if they wanted to leave the Target Center with a win.
The duo of Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole – both reliable for much of the season, were expected to have big scoring nights. Instead, they contributed with just 12 points each, as the Warriors were defeated 129-114.
The Golden State Warriors are going to need Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole to return to All-Star-caliber for any chance at an NBA Finals run.
Since the start of February, Poole has only scored more than 20 points on two occasions – and is averaging just 14 points over his last 11 encounters. While Wiggins in the same stretch has similarly struggled, registering exactly zero 20-point games since the end of January.
The bottom line is – Wiggins and Poole need to play a lot better if the Warriors want to be popping champagne, and celebrating another championship come June.
Wiggins All-Star Hangover
Wiggins’ first-ever All-Star birth has coincided with his roughest patch of the season so far.
One that has swiftly reminded fans why it took him this long to receive All-Star recognition in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, Wiggins is an excellent player and still a perfect fit for the Warriors system. But he has his limitations when asked to do too much.
He’s not a max-contract player and we’ve long known this fact. Wiggins has flourished with the Dubs because for the most part, he’s had a specific role – one that he excels at. You won’t find many better 3-and-D players than Wiggins in the NBA.
His early-season success came as the third or fourth option on offense. He wasn’t forcing anything, but instead playing in the flow of the offense – living off a healthy diet of open threes and aggressive cuts to the basket.
However, the recent absences of Green and Thompson has shed light on some of Wiggins’ old habits that used to plague him, along with the pattern of inconsistency that has hindered him from ever taking his potential to the next level.
When asked to be a secondary scorer in the offense – Wiggins settles for far too many contested mid-range jumpers.
Perhaps with the lack of scoring on the floor, defenses can now hone in on Wiggins defensively.
Though I think his fear of getting to the line and shooting free throws is what’s holding him back more. Wiggins is shooting only 64.6 percent from the line this season, and over the last month his average from the stripe is at a dismal 41.2 percent.
In the last 10 games (coming into last night’s matchup with Dallas), the most free-throws Wiggins has attempted in a game has been five – which has happened only twice. For a player that possesses his type of athletic profile, with an ability to almost jump out the gym literally – Wiggins should be living at the free-throw line.
Sure, he’s not sinking them consistently enough – but his worst free-throw shooting season has ironically overlapped with the best three-point shooting season of his career. Suggesting that he can in fact shoot the basketball. He just needs to figure it out.