NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Andrew Wiggins' Warriors Role, LaMelo Ball

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2020

Golden State Warriors guard Andrew Wiggins (22) looks to pass against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Has Andrew Wiggins found a home with the Golden State Warriors?

For the time being, at least, it looks like he has.

According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater, the Warriors organization traded for him "with the expectation that he'll be their starting small forward next season."

Slater further reported that Wiggins was not just a matching contract to flip like D'Angelo Russell, who was acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets for the departing Kevin Durant.

At the time, many believed that he was taken on as a future trade option.

That thought, of course, was brought to bare when the former All Star guard was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Wiggins, a 2021 protected first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick.

ESPN's Bobby Marks noted that the move put Golden State $3.1 million below the luxury tax, which was ideal considering they'd have to make financial room for the moves they needed to make to get back to being title contenders.

In the span of 12 games, though, Wiggins made his case for sticking around.

He averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 assists per game.

That was around what he'd averaged during his six years in the NBA.

But what stood out to head coach Steve Kerr, who shared that Wiggins was a better positional fit than Russell, was his versatility and basketball IQ.

"I’m not sure we’ve had a player who has picked up the offense quicker," Kerr told The Athletic's Slater.

Kerr also shared that he believes that Wiggins will be able to gel next season with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

"It's easy to picture Steph and Klay on the perimeter with Andrew with the ball in his hands, and how fun that's going to be," Kerr told Wes Goldberg of The Mercury News.

Since he was selected No. 1 overall in 2014, Wiggins has been maligned for his lack of effort, energy and passion despite his ability to score.

But since the Warriors traded for him, he's impressed everyone with his defense.

"I think he can be an All-Defensive player," Draymond Green told reporters back in February. "He reminds me a lot of Kevin Durant as a defender."

For his part, Wiggins has the right attitude and is excited about the prospect of playing with a player like Curry.

"I'm very excited," Wiggins told Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area. "Curry's an MVP player, one of the greats. He helped transition the game with his 3s and how fast he plays. So, I'm excited.

"I feel like I've adjusted well," he added. "I've never played with anyone as good as him. By far, he's the best player that I've played with. Just getting a chance to learn from him and feeding off him and just learning."

On the surface, Wiggins can easily fill the role of Harrison Barnes, who was a vital piece of Golden State's first championship in 2015.

If he can improve on defense like Green suggested and play seamlessly with the Splash Brothers, he'll likely be around for the foreseeable future.

LaMelo Ball to the Knicks?

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Based on his lone season with the Illawarra Hawks, LaMelo Ball has likely played his way into the Top 5 of the 2020 NBA draft.

There's even a chance that Ball could go No.1 based on his upside and what teams win the lottery.

But if that team is not the New York Knicks, there may still be hope for Spike Lee's embattled team.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, league sources are under the impression that the team behind 18-year old phenom "will try to steer" him to the Knicks.

If New York doesn't get any of the top four picks, they'll have to engineer a way to trade up to land Ball.

That could prove difficult, as most mock draft boards have them around No.6, but they could find a willing trade partner in Golden State, should it land the first pick because president of basketball operations Bob Myers is willing to consider moving it.

"Yeah, we’re going to consider all that," the GM told Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. "Now, I don’t know if the headline is going to be that we’re trading our pick. So, be clear that I said ‘consider.’"

If that's the case, Ball's father LaVar would be a very happy camper.

"The best fit in my eyes is the New York Knicks," LaVar told Berman. "It’s time for something good to happen to them.

"The bright lights, East Coast, If everything lines up right, the Knicks get the first pick and get LaMelo and LiAngelo with him and somehow get Lonzo in the long run. Shoot – The Triple B’s. The Ball Brothers on Broadway."

Ball's court vision, ball handling and ability to make almost any pass is reminiscent of Mark Jackson, who was drafted by the Knicks back in 1987 with the 18th pick and went on the win the Rookie of the Year.

Jackson brought a level of excitement to the franchise that Ball could emulate.

Ball has the star power that New York needs right now and if they hire Jackson as the new head coach, everything could come full circle.