HomeViralAndrew Wiggins Mastering the Art of Domination: Warriors' New Look Unleashes His...

Andrew Wiggins Mastering the Art of Domination: Warriors’ New Look Unleashes His 2-Way Brilliance

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Andrew Wiggins is turning it around at just the right time.

Jonathan Kuminga owns the distinction as Golden State’s best all-around athlete by now, and it’s not particularly close. The more comfortable he gets on the floor, the more frequently the 21-year-old is tapping into his otherworldly physical tools on both sides of the ball. It’s getting scary for opponents.

Far more frightening for Warriors foes? When Wiggins turns back the clock to play with the superlative two-way athleticism that helped make him the No. 1 overall pick in the draft nearly a decade ago. He did just that from the opening tip of Tuesday’s 119-107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, resulting in flashes of all-around dynamism provided by increasingly used lineups featuring Wiggins and Kuminga.

Kuminga continued his rapid progress toward becoming a reliable nightly impact player against the Sixers, but it’s Wiggins’ performance that looms largest to Golden State’s immediate present and long-term future. He did it all at Chase Center, playing perhaps his best—not to mention most confident and aggressive—game of the season en route to 23 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block on 8-of-10 shooting and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

Andrew Wiggins continues thriving with Draymond Green, Jonathan Kuminga

Warriors, Andrew Wiggins, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, NBA playoffs

The most indelible encapsulation of his season to date is probably Wiggins losing his handle on the move or getting the ball swiped out of his hands in traffic. He’s been more stable in that respect of late, perhaps aided by additional reps running inverted ball screens with Stephen Curry.

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Golden State went back to that well on the first possession Tuesday, running a staggered pick-and-roll for Wiggins with Curry as the second screener. Watch how easily Wiggins keeps his advantage on Kelly Oubre Jr. while headed to the rim.

That such a relatively routine attack and finish is notable speaks to just how out of his depth Wiggins has seemed operating as a ball handler for most of 2023-24. Seriously, who would’ve thought three weeks ago that Wiggins had enough craft off the bounce to make this move before finishing right through Joel Embiid?

Wiggins scored from all three levels of the floor versus the Sixers, with and without help. He stopped and popped for a smooth baseline two in isolation, cut off Curry screens for multiple dunks from Draymond Green and drained a deep triple from the right wing.  The Warriors’ long-dormant transition game was ignited by his speed in the open floor, too.

“Offensively, with the lineup change there’s a little more space the way we’re playing. We’re able to play a little bit faster. You can see he’s getting downhill, getting to the rim, he’s doing things that are very comfortable for him. He’s really starting to get into a good groove,” Steve Kerr said of Wiggins after the game.

Self-assured, hyper-efficient offense isn’t enough from Wiggins. Golden State needs him to be a difference-maker on defense, too. He was up to that challenge against a shorthanded Philadelphia squad, hounding the ball across the floor and making multiple disruptive plays as a help defender.

This wasn’t the only dribble hand-off Wiggins blew up Tuesday night.

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Wiggins doesn’t stop after contesting Patrick Beverley’s floater in help here, content to let his teammates do more dirty work. After fighting to keep the Sixers off the offensive glass, he also strips Oubre with his left hand, saving a layup and sending the Dubs running the other way.

“I thought Wiggs was everywhere,” Kerr said.

Wiggins is averaging 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, three assists, 1.3 steals and one block over the last four games, with a ridiculous 75.0 true shooting percentage. The common thread in those outings beyond Wiggins’ red-hot shooting? The new starting triumvirate of Wiggins, Kuminga and Green has received extended run, averaging 19.0 minutes of court time. Golden State’s net rating with them on the floor is an extremely encouraging +28.0, per NBA.com/stats.

So much for the notion that Wiggins and Kuminga can’t play together. Beginning with last week’s rousing win over the Atlanta Hawks, Green’s presence hasn’t just unlocked Golden State’s ‘peak’ lineup. It’s gone a long way toward helping Wiggins find himself amid a potentially career-altering season.

“Draymond really changed things with his return. He connects [Wiggins and Kuminga] at both ends of the floor just with his communication defensively and then the way he helps get us organized offensively,” Kerr said. “Great to see Wiggs and JK both playing so well, and playing well together. It’s fun. We’re shifting a little bit with how we’re playing and who we’re playing. I thought tonight, I know Philly was short-handed, it was a really good defensive night from our guys.”

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