Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins had a career year in his new home by the San Francisco Bay, surprising many NBA observers with his solid shooting percentages and outstanding on-ball defense.
But it’s the postseason now. And for Wiggins, that scenario presents its own challenges. He’s struggled mightily in his limited postseason chances, going back to his time in college at Kansas.
He’s been in just one NBA playoff series, a five-game loss with the Timberwolves at the hands of the Rockets in 2018. Check out these notes on the series, plus a tidbit from Wiggins’ college days, from The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, including a ghastly plus/minus stat.
Notably, Wiggins was minus-46 combined in Games 4 and 5 (shooting 5-for-14 in each game), when the Rockets brushed away Minnesota by 19 and then 18 points. And Wiggins only played two NCAA Tournament games in his only season at Kansas, ending with a second-round loss to Stanford in 2014 when Wiggins went 1-for-6 and scored 4 points.Tim Kawakami/The Athletic
Are those numbers from the Rockets loss bad? Yeah. Pretty bad. And that note about Wiggins’ 1-for-6 performance in the NCAA tournament? Yikes. Wiggins was the No.1 overall pick, so that was an absolute collapse.
Kawakami also noted that Wiggins hadn’t yet played in the month of May before this season. That’s actually good news for Golden State, however. Wiggins’ level of play hasn’t dropped off late in the campaign though he’s in uncharted territory.
The largest difference for Wiggins’ is clearly the team he now plays for. With the Warriors, superstar guard Stephen Curry runs the show, freeing Wiggins to have a more balanced floor game, as opposed to when he was depended on to score at Kansas and then Minnesota.
Still, the proof is in the pudding. Thankfully for Wiggins, he has a golden opportunity to erase his short and very shaky postseason past, starting Wednesday night against the Lakers.
Note: Wiggins shot a career high 47.7 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range this season while amassing 70 blocked shots, also a career high.
(Photo credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports)