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Wiggins’ Canada play makes Warriors trade decision harder originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Andrew Wiggins was an integral part of the Warriors’ success this season. Besides Steph Curry, he was their most consistent player, reinventing his game while simultaneously revitalizing his career. 

Read any trade rumor Golden State might be looking into this offseason, and Wiggins is part of the package being shipped off. My colleague and former GM Chris Mullin recently said that trading him is anything but a no-brainer.  Now, a big reason for this is because his salary realistically matches players the Warriors would be targeting. But in terms of his growth and overall skillset, is he someone other teams want to acquire? 

Is the turnaround he had this season enough to prove that this is who he truly is and he can still get better? Or is this his ceiling? And if it’s the former, would the Warriors really want to give that up?

If you’re looking for a sample of Wiggins outside of this season with the Warriors, you can look at his play with Team Canada during the Olympics Qualifying tournament. Canada didn’t make it to Tokyo, but Wiggins had a strong showing. 

In three games, Wiggins averaged 21.7 points on 55 percent shooting, including 42 percent from three, six rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 30.8 minutes. He also hit a buzzer-beater in Canada’s second game to take it to overtime. Three games is a small sample size, so it’s hard to look at this performance and definitively say “Yes, this is who Andrew Wiggins will be now moving forward,” but it is encouraging.

The last 33 games of this season — nearly half of the season — Wiggins averaged 20.5 points on 49 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent from three. Those are eerily similar to what he averaged for Canada. 

It shows that he can be successful in a system outside of Golden States’, and he can take on a bigger role if given the opportunity. He carried the confidence that he developed over the last nine months and continued to build on that. It was a pro argument for this is who Wiggins is now. 

RELATED: Grading Warriors’ hypothetical offseason blockbuster trades

Here’s the follow-up question: can he get better? His individual defense was strong, but his team defense needs improvement. He still takes some inefficient shots, but they weren’t as ill-advised as the most frustrating version of the former no. 1 overall pick. And he still needs to become more of a play-maker.

It’s hard to gauge if this is who Wiggins will be for a while, if he will continue to grow, or if he will regress to who he was before. 

This thought pattern is also on the minds of teams who might receive Wiggins in a trade package. It’s unknown if Wiggins season changed the league-wide perception that he is inefficient and somewhat lazy. And how other teams view him will have a direct correlation to what they are willing to give up. And if others don’t value Wiggins as the Warriors do, it’s if Golden State would be selling low on a player who could continue to have an integral role within their organization. 

The Warriors have to remember what Wiggins did for them this season. There is a possibility that is who he will continue to be, as well as continuing to blossom for Golden State. But the Warriors might have to take that chance. Trading Wiggins will have to be for a bonafide star in return, not just as a throw-in piece because of matching salaries.  

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