Andrew Wiggins: Pulls high-speed errors for the Warriors

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Golden State Warriors are excellent in many phases of the game, but foul-drawing is not one of them. That may be why Charles Barkley said a jumping team could never win the title: You do not get as many free points on jumpers, and going to the hoop is rewarded with whistles. Enter Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins already led the Warriors in draws, but recently he has screwed up a notch, especially with a ten-offense performance against Detroit last week. Against the 76s, he pulled two quick errors in the first 73 seconds of the game, a huge advantage that he squandered by making all four penalty throws. Still, the Warriors played in bonus for the final 7:23 of the first quarter. An advantage they wasted by making one more mistake before the other, but it can still change the color of the other team’s defense.

How many mistakes did Wiggins make tonight? According to state guides at NBA.com, eight! That’s a lot, and a big reason why the jump-shooting Warriors managed to shoot 24 free throws. Wiggins has screwed up for it recently, a direct result of him going more in the basket. See, I use statistics pretty liberally in this piece, but based on the eye test, Wiggs simply goes more into the curve, and when he does, he does not settle for stepbacks and fadeaways near as often. It is as if at the age of 26 he finally realizes that he is stronger and tougher than almost anyone who checks him.

It’s one of the aspects that made Maple Jordan frustrating early in his career. Andrew Wiggins is a player with obvious physical gifts: he is still one of the fastest players in the league, he is very strong, he never gets injured and apparently does not get tired either. One would expect a copy like Wiggins to live by the line, but for whatever reason – I think it has a lot to do with playing in the NBA, which is similar to a stagnant banana republic in Minnesota – Wiggins simply did not make a mistake. Now he is embracing a new identity: Maple Harden.

He is up to pulling 3.6 errors per game and it is only going up. Since the Minnesota game, he has drawn 4.4 errors per game. match, and in the last four it is 4.8. The Warriors lack a rhyme threat, which is not a 6’3 ‘backup point guard known as “Young Glove”, but Wiggins can and should be that threat. A good way to counter the relatively low error rate (for a superstar) at Steph Curry is to get the Warriors in the bonus early, when touchdown errors on Curry turn into a penalty throw at the biggest FT shoot in NBA history.

Wiggins scored 19 points tonight, but he was +25 overall. Even when Klay Thompson returns to seize many, many wing minutes, Wiggins’ foul drawing is not replicated elsewhere on the list. Perhaps this new error magnetism is based on a general increase in offensive aggression (see: Draymond Green’s attack; Juan Toscano-Anderson’s newfound rim dominance), but it’s still refreshing. Wiggs should treat the pitch like an NBA track with bumper cars, plus he almost never makes mistakes in defense. The Dubs would take a slight uptick in offensive errors if the Wiggins train kept making extra stops at the fault line. When the shots do not fall, it’s time to make the defenders fall instead. Or Wiggins – even with the new disgusting weight, I think we know that flops will always be rewarded by NBA referees.

By the way, after his four flicks, Wiggins knocked down all three of his remaining penalty throws.

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