Wiggins seems like a good fit with Warriors at first glance
Andrew Wiggins wasn’t spectacular in his first game as a Golden State Warriors. He wasn’t a revelation to the team or the game of basketball.
But his Saturday debut in blue and yellow was an unquestioned success.
Wiggins looked good, solid. He looked like he fit in with Golden State. Fit goes a long way in this league.
It’s only one game. Thirty minutes doesn’t — and shouldn’t — mean much. And it should be noted that Wiggins played alongside more Santa Cruz Warriors (seven) than championship winners (one, Kevon Looney). But first impressions matter, a lot, and Wiggins made a strong one to the Chase Center crowd, scoring 24 points on 66% shooting and swiping five steals in those 30 minutes.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old forward will likely never live up to the expectations of being the No. 1 overall pick; of being Maple Jordan. He’ll likely never play well enough to justify his five-year, $148 million contract, either.
But as the Warriors have said — and meant — they don’t need him to be a superstar. No, they merely need him to play the way that he did Saturday night. Do that and he and his new team will be a success going forward.
Here are three thoughts on Wiggins’ first game with the Warriors and what it portends for Golden State:
1. Clean fit
Oh, that’s what a wing is supposed to look like.
No offense to Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III — two good players and good guys — but after years of being so blessed with wing talent that Andre Iguodala came off the bench, Wiggins is the first starter-caliber wing the Warriors have put on the floor this year.
It’s impressive how much better the Dubs’ system works with one of those in the fold.
The Warriors, led by Ky Bowman at point guard, ran the same offensive system the dynastic Golden State squads popularized on Saturday. That’s a byproduct of the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors’ synergy with the big-league club. They pushed the pace, moved off the ball, and passed it around, too. The Dubs weren’t talented, but they were trying to play the game the right way.
That, of course, was not the case when D’Angelo Russell was on the team. The rock-pounding point guard is a brilliant offensive creator, but his methodical — ok, slow — style forced the rest of the Warriors to acquiesce to him. Golden State was disjointed at best with him at the helm — a team with two different identities. And when he wasn’t outstanding, the Warriors were embarrassed by opposing teams.
But on Saturday, the Warriors were able to put a cohesive — though not all that talented — group on the court with Wiggins instead of Russell, and that had clear, positive repercussions. I’d venture to say it’ll be a trend.
“Steve (Kerr) said yesterday he wanted to start playing faster. The way they have the past four, five years that led them to being successful,” Marquese Chriss said Saturday. “I think that was what we were doing, just trying to push the ball up the sideline and play aggressive.”