Andrew Wiggins has blossomed this year with the Warriors, and the former first overall pick has been rewarded with first career All-Star selection.
Wiggins deserves the most credit for the honor, but the Warriors putting him in position to succeed after years six relatively underwhelming seasons in Minnesota — Golden State’s opponent on Thursday — is an achievement. Golden State Steve Kerr knows that as well as anyone.
“The whole organization is glowing right now because of what Wiggs has meant to us, but more importantly just the way he carries himself,” Kerr told reporters pregame. “Just a wonderful guy and he deserves this and we’re all thrilled.”
Kerr said Wiggins earning All-Star honors is “one of the proudest moments” he’s had as a coach.
Wiggins rode strong fan support to a starting spot in the Western Conference, beating out Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Luka Doncic.
The path for Wiggins to reach this point wasn’t easy. In Minnesota, he was criticized for not living up to the lofty expectations of a typical No. 1 pick.
Then before the 2021-22 season, Wiggins was hesitant to get vaccinated. He ultimately did get immunized, though he felt coerced to do it.
When the Warriors traded for Wiggins in e 2019-20 season, they imagined he could provide some of the length, defense and shooting they had lost between Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, Kerr said.
He’s done exactly that for Golden State this season, as he’s averaging 18.1 points per game on career-best efficiency while defending opposing team’s best perimeter players. He’s become more of a catch-and-shoot player who posts up mismatches, compared to more of an isolation scorer with the Timberwolves. In that more refined role, he’s shooting 48.1% from the field and 40.4% from deep.
It’s the perfect situation for Wiggins, and he’s a perfect option for Golden State.
“Wiggs fit the bill athletically and size-wise,” Kerr said. “And we felt like he was still a young player and could fit into our system with time, that he could learn to play with Steph and Klay. And adapt to some of the things we did, and add some things we didn’t have. His ability to get downhill, get to the rim. We needed that, too. It just seemed like a really good fit, and it’s proven to be that. I think most of that is because Wiggs just comes in and works every day. He’s earned not only the All-Star spot, but the position he mans on our team, which is our No. 1 perimeter defender night in and night out, and a key cog in our offense.”