The Golden State Warriors romped their way to the 2022 Championship by convincingly beating all the teams that they faced. The teams led by Nikola Jokic (Denver) and Luka Doncic (Dallas) were handled in 5 games, while the deeper teams in Memphis and Boston were beaten in 6.
Stephen Curry was a revelation throughout the playoffs and easily the best player on the Warriors side. But when it comes to picking the second most impactful Warriors player in the series, the answer isn't Steph's long-running teammates in Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, but it was Andrew Wiggins.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban came out and gave Wiggins the credit for beating the Mavs in the playoffs. When the Canadian forward appeared on the Vince Carter Show, he delved into his defensive performances during the playoffs and how he effectively managed to guard players like Luka, Ja Morant, and Jayson Tatum.
"I can play defense, you know, so I took that seriously. It didn't matter who they put me on, whether it was Ja (Morant), Luka (Doncic), (Jayson) Tatum... It didn't matter. My mindset was the same."
"Our team is talented, you know. Everyone's going to get a lot of touches. Obviously, we got Steph. We got a lot of stuff going on offensively, but defensively is somewhere where I thought I could put my stamp on."
With the offensive depth that the Warriors had in players like Curry, Thompson, and Jordan Poole, Wiggins was never expected to be a regular 20-point scorer in the Playoffs. What he was expected to be was the perimeter lockdown defender that compliments Draymond's free safety defensive role.
The Warriors face a hard challenge with extending the contract of Wiggins after the 2022-23 season because of their salary cap situation and the impending free agency of Jordan Poole. Even if Wiggins fails to stay longer with the Warriors, he made his impact felt in the biggest moments of the playoffs and can forever call himself an NBA Champion.