Golden State Warriors: 1 aspect for every player to improve upon – Andrew Wiggins

Mary Raleigh

As the 2023-24 NBA season draws near, Blue Man Hoop will focus on one aspect of potential improvement for every Warrior player.Golden State Warriors: 1 aspect for every player to improve – Dario Saric

It was more of the same for Andrew Wiggins last season, aside from the fact he crucially missed 45 games due to injury and personal reasons. When on the floor Wiggins was a similar two-way force to his All-Star season the year before, averaging 17.1 points and shooting a career-high 39.6% from three-point range.Andrew Wiggins Is Starring In His Role For The Golden State Warriors

Wiggins’ availability is one of the key factors for optimism in the Warriors this season — having access to the 2022 All-Star for another 30-40 games is sure to be a major boost. But for the Canadian personally, there’s a couple of aspects that be improved in order for him to return to his best.

Since joining the Warriors in 2020, Wiggins has developed from inefficient scorer to highly effective two-way presence. Under Steve Kerr and playing alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the 28-year-old has emerged as a far greater off-ball threat.Warriors' Andrew Wiggins has stronger 2022 NBA All-Star case than you think | Sporting News Canada

But while Wiggins has largely removed the tougher inefficient shots from his game, the element of individual shot-creation and shot-making has been helpful at times over the last few seasons. Although no Kevin Durant, Wiggins has often taken the role of long, athletic wing who can go and get a bucket when the offense is flailing.

Isolation and late shot-clock optionWarriors "To Make Every Effort" to Keep Poole and Wiggins - Bay Area Sports Nation

Unfortunately that was less so the case last season, with Wiggins’ opportunities limited by a further emerging Jordan Poole and Thompson’s first full year back after two devastating leg injuries.

Having Wiggins in isolation is far from Golden State’s preferred offensive method, but he’s still a talented enough scorer to be further up the pecking order. Last season he was fifth in isolation plays behind Curry, Poole, Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga.

With the lack of opportunity, Wiggins shot just 26.7% in such situations. In Golden State’s championship year he was third in isolation plays behind Curry and Poole, shooting 39.3%. The season before in 2020-21, he was second behind Curry shooting 47.8%.Andrew Wiggins silences all doubters with a Warriors season to remember

There’s a trend there that suggests that the more isolation opportunities Wiggins gets, the more effective he’ll be. That’s not to say he should return to his Minnesota days of regular mid-range jumpers and inefficient shots, but burying him as simply an off-ball threat really isn’t maximizing his pure scoring talents.

This is less about Wiggins himself and more about Steve Kerr trying to find a balance within the offense. The Warriors lamented their lack of shot-creation outside Curry come the second-round of the playoffs, but maybe they could have utilized Wiggins more before a rib injury began to hamper him.Warriors season preview: A repeat in the making? | HoopsHype

With Poole departed maybe there’s more opportunity available for Wiggins, although the incoming Chris Paul will probably (and maybe rightfully) render that unlikely with his ball monopolization and pick-and-roll style. Still, one has to believe Kerr and the Warriors could get a little more from a supremely talented wing who should theoretically be right in the middle of his athletic prime.

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