Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors have made a combined nine NBA Finals. They have won a combined five championships and they have changed some of the pieces every year.
This season might not finish with an NBA championship but the two teams are far from finished. Though they have taken different paths to do it in the past, we shouldn’t believe for one second they can’t get back to where they used to be. Both teams have made moves at the trade deadline that will help keep them in contention for the future.
Forging A New Sword:
Someone asked me the other day “what happened to all the Warriors fans”? I looked at them and gave them a stern warning about trying to disparage Golden State now because it’s foolish to think it’s going to be like this going forward.
For starters, their injury report has all of two names on it: Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. It doesn’t matter what kind of roster you have, if you go into the season without your two best players, you will suffer.
The second thing to look at is this suffering has dropped the Warriors to the worst record in the NBA. The three worst records on the NBA will have the best chance at landing the number one pick in the draft. Imagine the Warriors starting the 2020-2021 season with Curry, Thompson and the overall number one pick?
All of that can still be a possibility and now Golden State has added another piece for the future. The Warriors sent the recently acquired D’Angelo Russell along with Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and two draft picks.
This is Wiggins’ sixth season and nothing seems to stick out in his game. He’s always been an athletic, long wing player but there seems to be something missing. He’s also been the victim of an undefined role in Minnesota.
He was drafted by the team to be a savior of some sorts and then he was pushed to a secondary role as soon as they drafted Karl Anthony Towns. There will be no such problem playing for the Warriors. Once the “Splash Brothers” get healthy he will be the third scoring option, expected to be a one-on-one nightmare for opposing defenders.
It’s a role he can flourish in because he’s not forced into anything. With a head coach like Steve Kerr and teammates like Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green, most of the weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
All the Warriors need is for Wiggins to go out and hit his career averages (19.7 points, 5.2 rebounds per game) on a regular basis. Without the added pressure this should be a perfect fit for both Wiggins and the Warriors. Golden State has strong aspirations for future championship runs and Wiggins is out to prove he can be a major player in the NBA.
The Caporegime Of The East:
Miami Heat president Pat Riley is the NBA’s closest thing to a mob Godfather. Every few years executives around the league seem to accept an offer they can’t refuse. Somehow, he makes moves with very little assets and he always seems to get the guy he’s targeting.
The trade deadline move to acquire Andre Iguodala fell right in line with Riley’s way of getting the job done. The surprising Heat are currently fourth in the eastern conference and Iguodala’s services could come on handy.
The Heat get another veteran leader in the locker room to help with a young squad. Iguodala will also add some much needed bench play, giving Jimmy Butler and Kendrick Nunn some much needed rest. The main thing Miami gets in this trade is the experience of a guy who’s been through the wars and reached the promised land.
The former Finals M.V.P. might not be the same player he was four or five years ago but in small bursts he can still be effective. His defense and knack for making the big play will definitely help the Heat as they make this (surprising) playoff push.
Two teams that have seen better days and most likely will have some better days to come. These moves will help solidify them going forward and maybe, just maybe help them get back to the top.