The Golden State Warriors have hit the playoffs full of steam, obliterating the Denver Nuggets in the first two games of the series at Chase Center.
The key talking point has been the overwhelming nature of the Golden State Warriors’ latest lineup of hell, one that’s set social media abuzz with possible nicknames.
Sending shockwaves around the league with their deadly potency, the Warriors lineup of Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green is a remarkable +29 in 11 minutes through two games.
Many attribute the success to Poole’s incredible rise and Green’s ability to lockdown Denver’s MVP Nikola Jokic. For good reason; Poole looks more like Curry than Curry himself, averaging 29.5 points on a scorching 65.5% from the field and 58.8% from three-point range. Meanwhile, Green has kept Jokic to 9-for-27 from the floor in their individual matchup.
But with the Warriors using Kevon Looney sparingly so far, everyone simply has to play their role to hide Golden State’s lack of size. While Poole, Green and the splash brothers may steal the limelight, Wiggins has played an underrated, crucial role in the Warriors’ success.
Playing more minutes as a power forward, the first time All-Star has been a more willing rebounder for the Warriors, understanding the responsibility while Green has his hands full with Jokic. After averaging 4.5 rebounds throughout the regular season, Wiggins has averaged 8.5 through the first two games of the playoffs.
To put this in perspective, his 17 total rebounds are nearly double the second-best Warrior (Green with nine). It’s also the most of anyone in the series not named Jokic. Put simply, the new ‘death lineup’ is much less viable, and its weaknesses much more evident if Wiggins isn’t stepping up as a rebounder.
He’s also doing a stout job defensively, spending the majority of time guarding Jeff Green and Aaron Gordon. While neither are considered premier scorers by league standard, Wiggins is locking them up nonetheless. The aforementioned duo is 1-for-8 from the floor when guarded by Wiggins through two games.
On the offensive end, Wiggins is proving an efficient, complementary piece to the explosive nature of his teammates. He’s been a much more aggressive cutter, rediscovering those easy baskets and the overall playstyle that made him an All-Star starter this season.
The Canadian is averaging 14.5 points on 55% from the floor and 60% from three. Putting the sizeable contract aside, this is just the production the Warriors need to help win an NBA championship.
For a player whose form tailed off significantly towards the end of the regular season, Wiggins has been an undoubted positive to start the postseason.