Andrew Wiggins' simplified Warriors role allowed him to find shot

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  • Golden State Warriors
    Golden State Warriors
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  • Andrew Wiggins
    Andrew Wiggins
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How Wiggins found his shot with simplified Warriors role originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew Wiggins has taken his game up a notch. 

It's as if when he dunked on his former teammate Karl-Anthony Towns -- not once, but twice -- in Warriors' win against Minnesota in early November, Wiggins took himself to a new level. After that game, Wiggins said he just needed to make a concerted effort to be more assertive and aggressive. 

Thirteen games later, he's keeping his word. 

"Yeah, I’m in a groove," Wiggins said. "I love my teammates. I love winning."

But, his most recent performance -- in the Warriors' 126-95 Monday night win over the Orlando Magic -- showed a different kind of assertiveness. 

Instead of attacking the rim and driving to the hoop -- which is Wiggins' best attribute --, he asserted himself from beyond the arc. Wiggins went 9-of-17 from the floor, including knocking down a career-high eight 3-pointers. 

Now, Wiggins' season 3-point percentage is up to 41.6 percent -- another career-high, as he has never shot better than 38 percent from distance.

"The biggest thing I’m seeing from Andrew is that he’s just catching and shooting," Kerr said. “He’s always been a pretty good 3-point shooter, but maybe more a little bit off the dribble. And the thing is, he’s gotten better with us when he’s open. He’s just catching and shooting."

Wiggins' ability to hit open 3-pointers is one of the reasons he, Kerr, and his Warriors teammates all say he fits in with Golden State's system so well. On other teams, Wiggins was asked to be the No. 1 scoring option. But in Golden State, he's not the main attraction. It has made his role a more simplified one.

He's a player who, like so many others on the roster, will find opportunities within the system that is centered around Steph Curry.

From there, it's just about taking advantage of those opportunities. 

"Yeah just not thinking about it," Wiggins said of his increased catch-and-shoot attempts. "If I see an open shot, a shot I like, just letting it fly.

"The thing about being on this team, you play with someone like Steph and Draymond, they’re going to get you open shots and good looks. In my career, this is the most open looks I’ve gotten.”

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These are the kind of perimeter shots the Warriors should want to see Wiggins take -- the ones you just cannot turn down. At the same time, he shouldn't turn down the chances he gets to attack the rim. 

The important thing for Wiggins is to move with decisiveness and conviction. When he does that, he rarely makes the wrong read. It's when he gets in his head that you see decreased aggression and a more lackadaisical approach. 

“I think it’s a combination of the work he’s put in,” Curry said. “You have a confidence that comes with that. He can shoot the ball and is an amazing scorer when he has his mind made up about what he does when he gets the ball where they’re shooting and driving, good things happen.

"You have a confidence that comes with that knowing he can shoot the ball. He’s an amazing scorer but he has his mind made up about what he does when he gets the ball, whether that’s shooting or driving, good things happen," Curry continued. "It’s also, another year of being in our system and understanding where his shots are going to come from. You get rid of that hesitation or second-guessing what you should do."

When Wiggins has his mind clearly made up, he is one of Golden State's most dangerous weapons. We all saw what he did to KAT two weeks ago when he decided to take the ball to the rim. And against the Magic, he displayed what he can do when he decides to let it fly. 

And right now, there's nothing to suggest that this version of Wiggins -- in the groove that he's in -- is going anywhere anytime soon.