Golden State Warriors

Andrew Wiggins is filling the void left by Warriors' All-Star Klay Thompson

It's safe to say that Andrew Wiggins has found a home in Golden State.

Hidden in the shadows of the Stephen Curry and Draymond Green spotlight, Wiggins has been able to contribute for the Warriors without much of the criticism that came his way in Minnesota. It's almost the perfect scenario for the 26-year-old.

Just because Wiggins is flying under the radar doesn't mean he hasn't become an integral part of the Warriors' winning formula.

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But how much of an impact and contribution has he actually made? Let's take a look.

What has Andrew Wiggins done with the Warriors?

Wiggins is closing in on 100 games played with the Warriors. In that time, he's become a far more efficient scorer and more consistent defender than he was during his first six years with the Timberwolves.

This year, Wiggins is averaging a career-low 15.9 points per game at the time of this writing. In the past, that would've opened the door to the Canadian becoming one of the basketball world's biggest proverbial punching bags. That's no longer the case.

Warriors' Wiggy has become more than just a scorer. He's become one of the better two-way players the team has - and it's a welcomed sight for Dubs fans in the prolonged absence of Klay Thompson.

With Green quarterbacking the Warriors defence, Wiggins has taken over the void left by Thompson as the guy who guards the opponent's best perimeter player.

Defensive stats are something noisy and may not always tell the most accurate story but consider this: according to the BBall Index, Wiggins ranks in the top 10 in matchup difficulty - which is a calculation using player tracking data to determine how often a player spends defending players of different usage tiers. For example, more weight is given to players who have to defend Kevin Durant and James Harden, who have a higher usage rate on the Nets, than say, Blake Griffin, whose usage rate is on the lower scale. The metric puts Wiggins in the same class with known All-Defensive candidates like Luguentz Dort and Matisse Thybulle.

And even those he's been tasked with guarding some of the best players in the league on a nightly basis, he's doing so without fouling. According to Cleaning the Glass, Wiggins is fouling on just 1.8 percent of the Warriors' defensive plays, ranking him in the 80th percentile for his position.

When he's on the floor, the Warriors have a defensive rating of 98.1, which is on par with the overall league-best team rating of 97.1.

Now those are numbers and sometimes numbers don't tell the whole story, but watching the tape you regularly see a defensive effort like this from Wiggins this season:

And this:

Aside from his defence, Wiggins has been a positive offensively too.

With Wiggins on the floor, the Warriors are scoring at a rate of 108.4 points per 100 possession. When he sits, that number drops to 101.8. Yes, his scoring is down, but he is making an impact on the Warriors' offence.

What happens when Klay Thompson comes back?

It's the question that most Warriors fans are asking, or at least they should be. According to reports, a Thompson return should happen before the end of the calendar year.

And while Thompson isn't the toughest player to play alongside, there will be an adjustment period.

It's weird to think that Wiggins, who is now in his third season in Golden State, has never played with Klay Thompson.

But Wiggins' presence should help Thompson ease back into what he once was. With Wiggins in town, Thompson doesn't have to bear the responsibility of guarding the other team's best player. Instead, he can regain his confidence slowly on defence by guarding second and third options.

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With Wiggins around and the emergence of Jordan Poole and Damion Lee, Thompson can also ease back in on offence, too.

If Klay can get back to being Klay, things can get interesting. The Warriors would have a real shot at once again competing for a championship with the roster as is if Thompson can return to his former All-Star form.

But what if Thompson isn't going to be as productive as he once was? Can Wiggins continue to be consistent enough on both ends of the floor for the Warriors to be able to compete even with a less-than-All-Star version of Thompson?

Maybe.

Also, would the Warriors front office consider trading Wiggins for another all-star to be paired with Curry, Green and Thompson again? Wiggins has just one year remaining on his current contract after this season at north of $33 million.

The options are endless and they'll be plenty of time to speculate about what could be but what Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors are doing is working right now.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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