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“He was the best player on the floor”-Bill Simmons highlights Andrew Wiggins's impact for the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals

Brown and Jayson Tatum are going to need to step up against Wiggins and the Warriros if they want to push this series to seven games
Bill Simmons highlights Andrew Wiggins impact for the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals

The Warriors struggled to get anyone to support Steph Curry to open the series, but Wiggins has stepped up as Golden State’s second option behind Curry

We are beginning to reach the business end of the 2022 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors won a crucial Game 5 on their home court Monday night to take a commanding 3-2 series lead over the Boston Celtics. The Celtics will now try to respond on their home court in Game 6 and force a winner take all Game 7 on Sunday night.

Wiggins has helped put the Warriors one win away from a championship

There have been a lot of interesting developments that have put the Warriors on the brink of winning their fourth championship in the past eight years, but arguably the most important has been the play of Andrew Wiggins for Golden State. The Warriors struggled to get anyone to support Steph Curry to open the series, but Wiggins has stepped up as Golden State’s second option behind Curry in Games 4 & 5. Without him, the Warriors are almost certainly trailing in this series.

Wiggins has been a force on both offense and defense. Offensively, he can serve as a secondary isolation scorer behind Curry when Boston’s offense focuses on him. Defensively, he’s been the primary defender on the Celtics’ top weapon on offense in Jayson Tatum. Wiggins has also been fantastic on the glass for the Warriors, as he’s posted double-digit rebounds in back-to-back games for a Golden State team that is far smaller than Boston.

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Curry has easily been the Warriors’ best player, but Wiggins has turned the tides in Golden State’s favor. Bill Simmons noted that Wiggins is essentially having the type of series he was expecting Jaylen Brown of the Celtics to have, and his somewhat unexpected contributions have put the Warriors on the cusp of closing out Boston.

“Biggest thing to me is (Andrew) Wiggins. Wiggins in the last two games is 17 (pts) and 16 (rebs) in Game 4 and then in Game 5 26 (pts) and 13 (rebs). He was the best player on the floor. He looked like the guy I thought Jaylen Brown was going to be coming into the playoffs. So just quickly, that was not a variable we were kind of expecting. Right?” - Bill Simmons, The Ringer

Wiggins has outplayed Brown throughout this series

Simmons raises an interesting point that Wiggins outplaying Boston’s second-best player in Brown was not something many expected coming into this series, and he’s right. Brown has struggled for most of this series with all the attention he’s been getting on his drives to the rim, and Klay Thompson was almost universally expected to be the second option on offense behind Curry for Golden State.

Instead, Wiggins has emerged as an all-around force for the Warriors who has helped them take control of this series. He’s been the perfect complement for Curry on both sides of the ball, and he’s getting the respect he deserves after a rough start to his career.

This obviously will have to change for Boston if they want to force a Game 7 at this point. Wiggins has been doing a great job of limiting Tatum offensively, and Brown has looked lost on offense for much of this series for reasons that don’t include Wiggins. In a way, both of these guys have gotten outplayed by Wiggins, and that cannot carry over into Game 6.

The problem is that all the momentum is on Golden State’s side. Putting a stop to Wiggins could help turn the tides for Boston. But with an elimination game on their slate for Game 6, time is running out. If Wiggins has another solid outing in Game 6, the Warriors will most likely walk away with another championship ring to add to their collection.

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