Amid the Golden State Warriors' struggles through the first quarter of the season, much of the responsibility has been placed on the individual form of wings Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins.
The pair have lifted their output in recent times -- Thompson has four 20-point performances in his last five games and Wiggins has made 11 of his last 22 three-pointers -- but that hasn't changed their underwhelming production overall on the season.
10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce has placed some of Klay Thompson's struggles on Golden State Warriors' teammate Andrew Wiggins
In outlining the current state of the Warriors and their 9-11 record, former NBA champion Paul Pierce believes Wiggins' inability to step up into a greater role and take the pressure off the five-time All-Star.
Joining former teammate Kevin Garnett on the 'KG Certified' show, Pierce was disappointed with Wiggins' level so far this season and was adamant that the franchise needs to make a trade to salvage their season.
""No way it should be all this stuff talked about Klay Thompson when you brought Wiggins in to, you know, eventually take on that type of Klay Thompson role to take the pressure off of him," Pierce said. "Wiggins supposed to be giving you what Klay giving you now, to where Klay could take a step back and be like the third wheel.""
Pierce is right to a degree -- Thompson remains the second scorer behind Stephen Curry, with Wiggins averaging just 12.8 points per game. That's easily the worst of his career, having come on 26.7% three-point shooting through his 18 games.
Golden State need Wiggins to take on greater responsibility on the offensive end -- he's scored more than 18 points just twice this season, with 31 and 29-point games both coming in Warrior losses.
On the defensive end however, the Canadian is Golden State's number one perimeter defender -- a job Thompson held for years before his untimely and unfortunate leg injuries. We can argue about how effective Wiggins has been as a defender this season, but regardless he continues to lessen the pressure on Thompson on that end of the floor.
The most frustrating aspect is that we've seen Wiggins step up to the plate and be the guy the franchise wants and needs him to be. He was an All-Star less than two years ago, and was then the second-best player behind Curry on a championship-winning team.
As both players round into some semblance of good form, there's optimism they can help carry the Warriors to the playoffs. But to be a genuine championship contender again? Well they need Wiggins to rediscover the form from two seasons ago. The 28-year-old is expected to return for Golden State's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, having missed two games after jamming his finger in a car door.
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