The secret side of Andrew Wiggins that Warriors fans don’t see, according to Bruce Fraser

The secret side of Andrew Wiggins that Warriors fans don’t see, according to Bruce Fraser

The same fluctuating claims followed Andrew Wiggins throughout his eight seasons in the NBA.

He doesn’t care enough. He meets the defense. The talent is clearly there, but does he really love basketball?

As Wiggins showed even before arriving at the Warriors via a blockbuster trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the 2019-20 deadline, he has the ability to warm up and temporarily dispel any doubts.

In a two-month stretch in December and January, he averaged 18.1 points and shot 44.7% from 3-point range, a 26-game span that earned him one of 10 spots as an NBA All-Star starter.

But then Wiggins disappeared. As the Warriors battled key injuries to Steph Curry, Draymond Green and others to close out the regular season schedule, Wiggins’ production dropped to 15.7 points per game and a clip of 33.7% deep after the stars break. He knocked down 56.3% of attempts from the free-throw line in that span, wiping out nearly all of his All-Star authority and questioning whether he has what it takes to contribute to the championship chase. Golden State.

In an interview with 95.7 The Game’s Mark Willard and Dan Dibley on Tuesday, Warriors player development coach Bruce Fraser shed light on the Warriors forward and clarified any questions about the player’s monotonously misunderstood manner. 27 years old.

“He has a calm demeanor,” Fraser said. “But he’s more competitive than you think. It’s hard to play at this level, honestly, if you don’t have a competitive spirit.

“The hit on [Wiggins] is that he has always been so talented that he succeeds simply because of his talent. But what you don’t see in him is an inner fire burning. He is competitive. He wants to win.”

Wiggins showed that fire while being the Warriors’ most important player in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center on Wednesday night. With Gary Payton II still out with a broken elbow, Wiggins was given the team’s most critical task in their game plan to defeat the Mavs – stopping superstar Luka Dončić.

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Guarded by Wiggins for much of the Warriors’ 112-87 win over Dallas, Dončić was limited to 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and had more turnovers (7) than goals scored (6). Wiggins passed the test, once again silencing the doubters.

“He’s a really good basketball player,” Fraser said. “He’s gifted. The one thing that’s helped him here is we have a really good culture where all of his things that people have talked about in the past have come out. He’s been a great addition. I think ‘He’s regained his defensive intensity, and that’s really helped us.”

Wiggins will be called upon to follow Dončić again on Friday night in Game 2 of the series. Tune in to NBC Sports Bay Area at 5 p.m. for a preview of the game on “Warriors Live: Playoff Edition.”

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