It was only 12 games, but Andrew Wiggins looked like a different player after joining the Warriors following a mid-season trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 2014 No. 1 overall pick looked reenergized as if a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He played free and loose and had Warriors fans dreaming of what he would look like alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson when the Splash Brothers returned at full health next season. But as is often the case in sports, the excitement around Wiggins' fit with the Warriors was short-lived as talk of Wiggins being used as a potential trade to bring in another star as the missing piece to the Warriors' dynastic rebirth.
Sports are a cold world, man.
Wiggins' name has been bandied about as a potential trade chip in numerous hypothetical deals. But former Warrior and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Chris Mullin loves Wiggins' fit with the Warriors and does not think he should be dealt. In fact, Mullin has high hopes for Wiggins next to Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
"Steph, Klay and Draymond we know what they do. They are perfect," Mullin said on the latest episode of the Runnin' Plays Podcast "Andrew Wiggins, it's a great fit for him because of the way he plays, his personality. He's a quiet laid back guy but he has No. 1 talent physically, athletically. He can off on any given night and be the best player on the floor. He's not really that outspoke and comfortable being the No. 1 guy, so here is the best place. So it's a great fit for him and it's also a great fit for the Warriors. They've got the star power in Steph and Klay. They've got the leadership and competitiveness and the heartbeat of the team in Draymond. He's a perfect fit with those guys. I would give that time. I like that mix is and I think it puts less pressure on this draft and acquiring whatever you do moving forward."
Early on in his Warriors tenure. Wiggins was nothing short of brilliant for Golden State. He averaged 19.4 points per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from 3-point range. The Kansas product also showed off his length and versatility on defense and he excited head coach Steve Kerr with his passing ability, which the Warriors are excited to see with Curry and Thompson back on the floor.
The criticism of Wiggins comes from the fact he's a No. 1 overall pick and has a massive contract. But people forget Wiggins entered the NBA at 19 and still is only 24 years old. Couple that with spending the beginning of his career drowning in dysfunction with the Timberwolves and it's easy to see why Wiggins hasn't realized his potential.
But he is far from a lost cause. The Warriors acquired him because his contract is large enough to give them trade ammunition, but more importantly, they believe in his talent and think they have the perfect system and culture to bring out the best in a player who was once expected to be one the league's next superstars.
Going from the No. 1/No. 2 option on a losing franchise to the No. 4 option on a team with three surefire Hall of Famers and a championship pedigree is a blessing for Wiggins.
He won't be asked to do too much for the Warriors. With Curry and Thompson back and fully healthy, the Warriors will need Wiggins to play within the system, defend at a high level and knock down open jumpers that Curry and Thompson will create for him. Growing alongside Curry should only help Wiggins begin to find the consistency he has been lacking early on in his career.
He's got all the talent to still become a star. The Warriors just might be the perfect team for him to find reach his potential with.