How Andrew Wiggins’ Warriors development surprised Matt Barnes

How Wiggins’ role with Warriors surprised Matt Barnes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Since being traded to the Warriors in 2020, Andrew Wiggins’ journey in the Bay has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. 

Finishing last season 8th in the Western Conference, and coming in dead last the season before that, the current Warriors squad has once again become a serious threat to the league.

It’s definitely been a team effort and has taken a lot of major adjustments in the offseason, but Golden State (26-6) is eyeing the championship. 

Part of those adjustments included finding a place for Wiggins that worked best for the Warriors. 

Before being traded to the Dubs, most of the NBA world had given up on Wiggins due to his good, but underwhelming performance in the big leagues. 

A change of scenery was necessary for the former No. 1 pick. 

Wiggins established himself as a solid two-way player for the Warriors during the 2020-21 season and has since improved his game on the offensive end. 

But many were still critical and had their doubts about Wiggins, including former Warrior and current Sacramento Kings analyst Matt Barnes, who said he’s surprised with how Wiggins’ role has developed into an important part of a great team. 

“I think someone who’s going to be very important, which I really liked since he’s come to the Warriors, which I didn’t necessarily think he’d be a good fit, is Andrew Wiggins,” Barnes said. “He’s always been the guy that everyone says, he’s this, but or if, and I really think he’s come and found himself and confidence with this team.”

Barnes also pointed out how Wiggins has stepped up and locked down opponents on defense since Klay Thompson has been out. 

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“Klay was that main guy that took the brunt of the best guards in the West and in the finals… with this team and with Klay coming back with two severe injuries, he may not be as fast or it may take him some time to get that defensive momentum back,” Barnes said. “But I think with the way Wiggins has stepped up and I think that team has given him confidence in himself, and I like what he’s doing.” 

Wiggins is having the best shooting season of his eight-year NBA career, averaging 18.7 points (49.1 percent FG, 42.2 percent 3P). 

And there’s still a lot more basketball to play. 

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