Wright on Wiggins’ outlook for first full season with Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Steph Curry and Draymond Green will be the unquestioned leaders for the Warriors in 2020-21, but there might not be a player whose production will define Golden State’s success more than swingman Andrew Wiggins. After coming over in a midseason trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, fans got just a few games to see what the former No. 1 overall pick could do in a Warriors uniform.
Wiggins’ NBA career hasn’t panned out the way many envisioned when he was coming into the league, but expectations remain very high for the 25-year-old. NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Dorell Wright believes that a change of scenery and an extended offseason will lead to a bounce-back campaign.
“Now that he’s here and now he’s going to be playing with even better players back in the lineup, I think he’ll be able to flourish,” Wright told Grant Liffmann. “Because the pressure won’t be on him, I think in Minnesota it was just pressure, pressure, pressure, they haven’t been to the playoffs in so many years, you got two No. 1 picks on the same team, so the pressure is a little different. I think this year he’s going to take that leap.
“He’s just gotta you know, show the world why you were the No. 1 pick, and I think he’s up for that.”
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Wiggins got just one game together with Curry due to injuries before the season was suspended, and Green also missed extensive time last season.
With Klay Thompson expected to miss the entire 2020-21 season after an Achilles tear, there will be some added pressure on Wiggins, albeit a different kind of pressure than what he faced in Minnesota. Curry will be the first option on every offensive possession, but Wiggins likely will be needed to be a consistent shooter to at least try and make up for the production lost with Thompson’s absence.
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“He’s going to be getting the second-best defender on every team because the best defender is going to be guarding Steph,” Wright said. “He will have the advantage, and like you said he has to buy in on the defensive end. He has to go out there and be able to guard multiple positions on switches, you gotta rebound at a high level, and on the offensive end, just take good shots.”
Photos of Wiggins’ gains in the weight room have captivated Warriors fans and might even have elevated those expectations, and he’ll get his first full season in a Warriors uniform underway a week from today in the first preseason game from Chase Center against the Denver Nuggets.