The long offseason saw Andrew Wiggins' name thrown around in just about every hypothetical trade one could think of. If you didn't know any better, you'd think the Warriors were set on trading the 2014 No. 1 overall pick and not seeing if he could reach his potential with Golden State.
But the Warriors have said all along how they think Wiggins will be an integral part of extending the dynasty. Wiggins worked on his body in the offseason and believes he can thrive alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
Curry, for his part, has loved what he's seen from Wiggins in his short time as a Warrior and is glad the 25-year-old now will get the chance to zip up his critics.
"I'm excited about it," Curry said of playing with Wiggins. "I know, for him, there's been a lot of conversations, especially coming out of the trade last year and this offseason -- I know he's heard a lot of the noise on where he fits in our long-term plans or if he's going to get moved or all the other nonsense. I've always been in the camp of he has so much to prove in terms of taking the next step in his career and organization and with the potential that we all have in terms of unlocking some of the things that will help us be a winning basketball team and him having a huge part in that.
"For him, it's the theme of just get better, commit to what's going to get us as a team to the next level and where he can really show his value and his ability out there on the floor and kind of put all the doubters to rest. I think he has a huge opportunity to do that this year and I'm excited. I know he's put in a lot of work this summer. He looks good coming into camp. it's one of those things where he's averaged what, 20 something a game for his career. He knows how to put the ball in the basket. I think defensively he's going to show a lot about his potential in terms of being an All-Defense type of guy and we expect that from him."
With Klay Thompson likely out for the season after tearing his right Achilles, Wiggins, along with the recently acquired Kelly Oubre Jr., will be critical to the Warriors' success this season.
Wiggins looked great in 12 games last season with the Warriors after coming over in the trade that sent D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wiggins knows the Warriors need him to elevate his game this season especially with Thompson out.
The Kansas product has spent his entire NBA career hearing others talk about how good he can be and is using that as fuel to take a leap.
It’s motivation,” Wiggins said. “When you hear people talk good about you and saying you have another level, you just want to reach that level, reach that potential that you have within. And I’m going to keep working toward it.
“I always feel like I can get better. I always feel like I can do more."
Even as the season nears, Wiggins' name is still being thrown around in hypothetical trades for James Harden, who is all but done being a Houston Rocket.
The hypothetical trade machine can take a rest for now.
The Warriors believe in Wiggins and his potential. They count his part of their next championship core and have no plans, as of now, to send him anywhere than out on the floor next to Curry and Oubre.
After an offseason spent listening to all the players the Warriors could get in return for him, it's time for Wiggins to get to work and silence all those who believe he can't reach his lofty potential in Golden State.
That's something Curry can't wait to have a front-row seat to.