Andrew Wiggins shines in the playoffs for the Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Andrew Wiggins lifted his daughter Amiya in his arms and shone when the Warriors were crowned …

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Andrew Wiggins took his daughter Amiya in his arms and shone when the Warriors won the Western Conference.

Each of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green had the equipment, otherwise they probably would have lifted Wiggins into the air to celebrate everything he had in mind in the last post-season Golden State race.

He defended Luka Doncic in full court. He rode and soaked Doncic with a clear blow with one hand to his face. He knocks down big punches and provides rebounds at the right time.

“Just live in the moment, just accept it all, win,” Wiggins said Monday. “… Just winning with this team, with these guys was the most important thing.”

Ever since Wiggins began hearing rumors of a possible trade with Minnesota before the deadline in February 2020, he has allowed himself to imagine the opportunity to win everything with Curry, Green and Clay Thompson. He imagined playing for coach Steve Kerr.

Now he’s going to make it to the NBA Finals with a chance to do so.

Game 1 against the Boston Celtics will take place on Thursday night at the Chase Center, where Golden State will play 9-0 this postseason, and Wiggins will again be tasked with holding a tough defensive match, this time slowing Jason Tatum.

“I love playing defense, I think I’m doing well,” Wiggins said. “I love taking the challenge.”

In all those months after he was exchanged, when Wiggins was faced with questions about how he would approach the Warriors, he showed he was right where he belonged – and in the final for the first time in his eight-year career.

The Warriors needed a sports wing, and they found that the player in the 6-foot-7 Wiggins, who once he arrived, no longer had to be the face of the franchise or carry that burden on his shoulders, as was the case with ” Timberwolves.

“From the time the trade took place until now, it has been a vision that it plays a very, very important role and has the ability to do so at the brightest fire and at the biggest stages, such as the playoffs like ours. , and now the finale, ”Curry said. “Glad to see it continues.”

Wiggins was more than even Kerr could have imagined given his ability to play on both sides. For a team that regularly throws three-pointers, Wiggins was one of the most reliable in the Golden State inside the arc.

With his mark of 51.9% (14 on 27) this postseason, he is one of four players – and the only one still struggling – to score more than 50% with a minimum of 25 attempts at the middle distance.

When Golden State needed succession with Curry, Green and Thompson this season for long stretches this season due to injuries, “Wiggins was permanent, he was here all year,” said owner Joe Lakab of the 27-year-old. a native of Toronto.

After joining the Warriors in 2020, Wiggins played just 12 games before the NBA season closed due to a pandemic. Kerr saw a lot in this small sample size and believed Wiggins would shine in the Gulf area.

“I think the whole last year really gave him a better chance to feel offensive and start really fit into our off-ball movement,” Kerr said. “I think he made the leap this postseason thanks to his rebounds and defense and I think continuity is so important in this league that you can’t just gather people and expect it to work. The previous year and (12) games two years ago and then this season, it all led to that. Wigg just came in perfect, and we wouldn’t be here without him, that’s for sure. “

However, Wiggins briefly became a distraction before the start of the season when he said he would stick to his beliefs and would not get vaccinated against COVID-19. He eventually decided to get the vaccine, faced with the possibility of not being allowed to play at home when the San Francisco Department of Public Health began demanding proof of vaccination for large indoor events.

It’s a distant memory, given the way Wiggins performed.

Curry only saw Wiggins’ arrogance grow as rates increased. This group has come a long way since its worst showing in the 15-50 league during the pandemic shortened 2019-20 season immediately following the arrival of Wiggins.

“It’s a beautiful story,” Wiggins said. “Lots of ups and downs.”

It was his daughter who woke him up from a nap in January to share the great news that he had first participated in the All-Star Game and was also selected as the starter.

He is not yet satisfied.

“I’m grateful,” said Wiggins, “we still have work to do.”

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