It’s a big year for Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins after the 28-year-old dealt with discontinuity for the first time in his NBA career last season.
Wiggins appeared in just 37 regular season games for the Warriors in 2022-23, owing to an injury in early December followed by an extended absence post All-Star to tend to personal matters. He returned for the opening game of the playoffs, only to have to battle through a rib injury late in Golden State’s second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Andrew Wiggins has always been blessed with enormous scoring potential, but is that an accurate way to evaluate his impact at the Golden State Warriors?
Speaking in an exclusive interview with GIVEMESPORT, NBA writer Mark Medina (who covered the Warriors for Bay Area News Group between 2017-2019) spoke on Wiggins regaining his best this season.
"“Andrew Wiggins needs to become the player that he was during the Warriors’ championship run”, Medina said. “He also struggled to find consistent footing after a 25-game absence to attend a personal family matter. Though the Warriors still loved Wiggins’ perimeter defense, he could increase his scoring load a bit”."
The “increase his scoring load” comment is really what pops out here. In his three full seasons with Golden State, Wiggins has averaged in the same realm in each specific year (between 17.1 and 18.6 points per game). While we’d like most players to increase their scoring output, particularly someone with Wiggins’ prodigious talent, is it entirely realistic in this Warrior setup?
The Canadian has turned from high-volume, low efficiency scorer in his early years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, to the complete opposite across his career with the Warriors. Much of that has to do with the greater offensive talent around him, allowing him to also take greater responsibility on the defensive end.
Wiggins retains his elements of individual shot-creation and shotmaking from his time in Minnesota, but that’s more for when Golden State are desperate for offense often late in the shot-clock. Otherwise he’s transitioned into an effective off-ball player who prioritizes catch-and-shoot opportunities and looks at the rim from well-timed cuts.
Wiggins was a 20+ point per game scorer in three seperate seasons with the Timberwolves, but that’s not the the way he’s best utilized with the Warriors. Although he does need to re-establish himself as Golden State’s second-best player for their hopes of another title, it’s still likely that Klay Thompson remains the second leading scorer behind Stephen Curry.
Perhaps Wiggins gets an uptick with the departure of Jordan Poole, though you could equally argue that his shot opportunities will be spread evenly through Chris Paul and young players like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
Ultimately, Medina is absolutely right in suggesting Wiggins could increased his scoring load. However, if you’re basing that as an expectation for this upcoming season, then that’s probably going to lead to an unfair judgement on his performances.