When the great Kevin Durant chose to leave the Warriors after the 2018-19 season, Golden State’s general manager Bob Myers had his work cut out for him.
How could he reassemble a championship roster? Durant’s departure, aging role players, and the sudden, serious injury to guard Klay Thompson in the 2019 NBA Finals made Myers’ roster suspect almost overnight.
Myers eventually found an answer, however: Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins was acquired during the 2019-20 season in exchange for G D’Angelo Russell, whom Golden State received in a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets for Durant.
Wiggins made his largest impact yet in the NBA Playoffs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, a Warriors win against the Mavericks that put Golden State up 3-0 in the series. After Wiggins posterized Mavericks star Luka Dončić on his way to 27 points and 11 rebounds, coach Steve Kerr praised Myers for acquiring a player of Wiggins caliber. Kerr even said that the trade, which also netted rookie forward Jonathan Kumnga via draft pick, was the key to reviving his championship-caliber roster.
That’s awesome stuff from Kerr. The entire team is showing Wiggins the appreciation he rightfully deserves. Myers’ deal-making ability also deserves praise, and Kerr covers that as well.
But did I mention the poster dunk from Wiggins? Here’s the footge of the savage throw-down over Dončić.
And here are a couple of vivid photos of this beautifully-violent monster slam dunk.
Wiggins is covering a lot of bases for Golden State in the WCF, with both his defense and his offense, and he’s excelling in ways many thought not possible. The former No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, Wiggins used to be considered an aloof underachiever.
On the Warriors, however, the culture has brought out the best in him. If he helps bring the Warriors another championship, you can bet that owner Joe Lacob will back up the Brinks truck to keep Wiggins in the Bay Area. But the NBA Finals, should the Warriors get there, will be a different animal, and Wiggins will have to prove himself all over again. Judging from his competitive spirit thus far, he won’t have an issue with that at all.