Warriors Wise to Keep Andrew Wiggins Amid Pre-NBA Trade Deadline Revival – NBC Sports Bay Area and CA

Warriors Wise to Keep Andrew Wiggins Amid Pre-NBA Trade Deadline Revival – NBC Sports Bay Area and CA

In the final hours before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline at 12:00 PM PT, Andrew Wiggins wordlessly offered 23 minutes of advice to executives in the Warriors’ front office.

Not that they need it. Not anymore. General manager Mike Dunleavy and CEO Joe Lacob realize that the Warriors, a picture of instability in the first half of the season, are developing into the team they envisioned on opening night.
They can attribute a lot of the turnaround to Wiggins.

Although Golden State’s 127-104 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center was certainly a collaborative effort, no one carried more weight than Wiggins, whose value spent much of January under a microscope in various trade labs. In the NBA.

Wiggins needed just 23 minutes to score a game-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and grab a game-high 10 rebounds. He also tied the hands of Sixers star Tyrone Maxey (12 points, 5-of-14 shooting, three turnovers, -27 in 30 minutes).

“It was great,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at the Wells Fargo Center. “He obviously shot the ball well. But he had rebounds, 10 boards, four offensive tackles. He played defense on Maxey — we put him on the toughest player — and he played with the right energy and the right spirit.”

“The whole group did. I thought everyone came out competitive and defended without any mistakes and that allowed us to come out in transition.

The Warriors have won four of five for only the third time this season. They have a starting lineup — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, Draymond Green — that they love and want to keep.

Wiggins, who has expressed his desire to remain with the Warriors, gives them what they sought in trade talks. A winger who can score while playing elite defense on the perimeter of the pitch. He didn’t do much during the first three months, which is why he spent most of December and early January as a substitute.

And why was the front office, looking to upgrade a team that was going nowhere, willing to make him available.

But Wiggins’ final three weeks were exactly what Golden State was seeking. Wiggins over his last six games — including a loss at Atlanta, when he left before halftime with an ankle injury — has averaged 15.7 points on 60.3 percent shooting. Equally important is that he defends with renewed focus and energy.

Wiggins’ revival has clearly and statistically made a difference for the Warriors. They play faster in attack. Defense has become more effective. Kerr sees the team he wanted all along.

“I feel like we found something good that worked for us and if everyone agreed with it we got it,” Wiggins said after the game. “Always make it about the team.”

Asked about trade possibilities before the game, Kerr offered his advice while subtly alluding to Wiggins’ recent rise.

“The players have been great, everyone is committed and playing hard together,” Kerr said. “And there wasn’t a lot of chatter. I know there were a few names being mentioned. But there wasn’t a lot of talking.

“I always say I don’t really expect anything to happen.”

Trade talks, which were frequent within the front office a few weeks ago, have calmed dramatically. That’s not to say the phones are completely silent, but Wiggins has gone from a low-value trade bait to a high-value trade bait — or a high-value warrior.

Any trade involving Wiggins always means getting someone back who needs time to adjust to Golden State’s preferred style and the timing required to execute on both ends. At this point, no rookie can be expected to contribute much until after the All-Star break on February 16-21.

Wiggins, 28, is now contributing. He is showing the form that has made him so valuable to a 2022 NBA Championship team. Trading him now would come with a huge risk and smell of desperation.

This would almost certainly lead to another round of amendments, something Kiir clearly wants to avoid.

“Everyone on our team has overcome a lot individually this year,” Kerr said. “Being left out of the starting lineup. Getting injured and bouncing around. Young players who have emerged through hard work and patience. I’m really enjoying coaching this team.”

The Warriors liked their roster in training camp. They believed the team had enough to make a deep postseason run. But when they were 6-9 in November, 5-7 in December, and 3-5 during the first two weeks of January, the front office began to act. After all, they have the highest salaries in the league.

They are 5-3 since January 15th. Moreover, their metrics are improving rapidly.

“I feel like this group can do something special. I really do,” Kerr said. “So, if we don’t do anything tomorrow, we feel like we have a good group that we can move forward with.”

The Warriors could always look for a veteran big man on the buyout market. If they let the deadline pass, it’s because they’re back to believing in what they have.

Draymond’s return has made the right impact. Developing Kuminga was everything they wanted. Thompson appears to have settled into a slightly lower role. Finally, Wiggins looks like the man who was indispensable on the last championship team.

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(Marks for translation) Andrew Wiggins

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