The last few weeks were quite eventful (to say the least) for the Golden State Warriors and yet the most buzzworthy move they made was one that could not overshadow the punch heard around the NBA world.
Andrew Wiggins agreed to a four-year, $109-million extension with the Warriors, effectively taking him off the free agent market next summer. The deal also includes a player option that could turn the initial agreement into a five-year, $143-million deal.
Even at 27, things have already come full circle for Wiggins, whose redemption arc from a top draft pick with what-ifs to a two-way player for the best team in the NBA last season was finally completed.
The likes of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole also figured prominently during Golden State’s title run last season, but Wiggins took on the daunting task of guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player, which during the Warriors’ 2022 title run ranged from Ja Morant and Desmond Bane to Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum. This isn’t a knock on Green or Thompson, but the former is dealing with age, wear-and-tear, and the ramifications of his punch on Poole, while the latter, at 32 years old, is coming off two major injuries. Wiggins then had to do a larger portion of the dirty work and it became his calling card with Golden State (posters aside) and he was certainly rewarded from his efforts.
When Wiggins first came to the Warriors through a February 6, 2020 trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was looking for a fresh start in a new environment. The knock on the former Kansas Jayhawk was that he didn’t have the fire inside him nor the consistency to be the go-to option on the team. One couldn’t blame Wiggins though, as the Wolves weren’t really a model franchise for that matter. With Golden State, the 2014-2015 NBA Rookie of the Year didn’t need to fulfill the gargantuan expectations that came with the top selection in the NBA Draft; he just needed to be what the Warriors needed him to be in order to win.
Wiggins’ defense was very much a valuable contribution to Golden State, but what he brings to the table offensively deserves discussion as well. His free throw shooting (63.4 percent on a career-low 3.2 attempts per game) may not be pleasant to the eyes, but the 3-point shooting (career-best 39.3 percent on 5.5 attempts per game) has been a major boost for floor spacing and keeping opposing defenses guessing. The 2022 NBA All-Star has always been on the attack but he has learned to pick his spots on a stacked Warriors squad, which suits him well and he has thrived as a result. Golden State’s fans also appreciate the posters that have taken them out of their seats both in the regular and postseason.
So where does Wiggins go from here? Well that’s the exciting part. Right now, he is the Warriors’ best two-way player by virtue of his age and relatively clean bill of health compared to his peers. With that, he can help give Golden State sustained effort even when the likes of Curry, Thompson, and Green take the night off. Then again, there is always that chance that the Canadian fulfills the promise that came with him being drafted first overall by Minnesota back in the 2014 NBA Draft and adds to his lone All-Star appearance. That would certainly be welcome on a team that, at its current form, will never not be short on firepower and wouldn’t mind having more.
Championships are won in part through the efforts on the court and the quiet yet essential moves behind the scenes. Andrew Wiggins and the Golden State Warriors coming to a long-term agreement got much less fanfare than other extracurricular Warriors activities, but it certainly helps Golden State stay light years ahead of the competition.