Warriors News: Latest Buzz on Andrew Wiggins, Steve Kerr

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Golden State Warriors guard Andrew Wiggins (22) against the Miami Heat during an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Here's a fun fact: The Golden State Warriors only have one former No. 1 overall pick on their roster.

And—spoiler alert—it's not former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, five-time NBA All Star Klay Thompson or two-time MVP Stephen Curry.

If this were an episode of NBC's Jeopardy, the contestant with the winning answer would have to say "Andrew Wiggins" in the form of a question.

Wiggins was acquired at the trade deadline in February from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for D'Angelo Russell. Not surprisingly, Wiggins hasn't quite lived up to the potential the Cleveland Cavaliers hoped he would have when they took him off the board first in 2014.

That was a problem in Minnesota, but in Golden State, where critics were quick to question his fit, he wasn't expected to be a franchise player.

"He may not be an MVP candidate, but he's a damn good player," head coach Steve Kerr said on The Bill Simmons Podcast (via Drew Shiller of NBC Sports). "He fits right in with what we're trying to do."

The Warriors (15-50) finished with the worst record in the league before the regular season was suspended back in March, but Wiggins played well, averaging 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

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The former Kansas standout only suited up 12 times for Golden State, but in that small sample size, he impressed Kerr with his offense (46 percent shooting from the field, 34 percent from three) and his defense (1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per outing), with the Warriors head coach adding:

"I wasn't surprised at all about what we saw because I've coached against him. The biggest thing for us was all about what you need today to win games. The game has changed so much and it's so hard to guard. ... You gotta have size and versatility on the wings.

"Multiple-positional defenders who can guard their position, but also guard two or three other positions. Andrew has the size and athleticism to do exactly that. He was an excellent defender for us, and played really well offensively."

Those were comforting words, for sure, but the vociferous Green gave a much more brazen evaluation.

"It's not like we gotta take his hand and walk him through," Green told The Athletic's Anthony Slater in February. "This guy's averaged 20 points in this league for three, four years. ... It's not a f--king bum we're talking about. I'm not gonna sit here and act like we found some diamond in the rough."

As the Warriors try to rebound from this season's woes and climb back into contention, they will have a lot of decisions to make.

Namely, should they keep Wiggins and try to have him jell with the Splash Brothers, who will both be back from injuries?

He will have to be more consistent from behind the arc, but if he can excel in that role, he could be the new Harrison Barnes, who thrived as a key member of the 2015 team that won the first of three championships in four years.

"Minnesota needed him to be a star," Kerr told Shiller. "And we're not asking him to be a star. We're asking him to play a role on a team that already has some star players."

                   

Warriors Jealous of Teams in the Bubble

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

There's no getting around the fact that for the 22 teams in the NBA's bubble in Orlando, Florida, there's a lot of stress, isolation and a laundry list of rules to keep players safe while they play the remaining games in the regular season leading up to the playoffs.

But despite all of that, Kerr and Green want to be there, playing in front of virtual fans while competing for another championship. Speaking on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Kerr said (h/t Shiller):

"Obviously, we were having a really rough season. It's been a grind this year. So when the Orlando thing happened, I don't think a lot of us were that disappointed to not be invited -- especially Steph, Draymond, Klay. The guys needed a rest. They just needed to get away.

"But now that it's going -- I talked to Draymond about it -- Draymond and I kind of both feel the same way, which is we kind of want to be there. We're missing out. These games look fun. The NBA is doing a great job. The games are competitive. The players look great.

"To not be there actually is kind of painful."

Kerr and Green's FOMO is understandable considering all of the great games that have been played at Disney World.

Devin Booker hit a clutch game-winner over Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 117-115 and give the surprising Phoenix Suns a three-game wining streak.

The Los Angeles Lakers clinched the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference, and players like Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren have stolen the spotlight with their breakout performances.

Based on the level of play to close out the regular season, it stands to reason that the action will be even more intense and entertaining once the playoffs start.

The Warriors had been to five straight NBA Finals before this year, so having to watch it all from the outside looking in will more than likely be a huge motivation to get back to winning ways next season.

                 

Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport.