The Warriors’ trade for former No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins has become one of the more widely-discussed deals in recent memory.
In the midst of the worst season the franchise has had in almost a decade, general manager Bob Myers decided to end the D’Angelo Russell experiment after eight months and put together a blockbuster trade, hoping Wiggins will provide a better fit once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both rejoin Golden State’s lineup.
The Canadian-born forward easily is one of the better athletes the NBA has to offer, but that hasn't always translated into elite defensive ability. While his stint with the Warriors has been brief, he’s already shown a dedication to upping his intensity on that end of the floor.
“His steal and block rates have doubled since he came to Golden State,” NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh said on NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors-Wizards broadcast. “That was the thing, statistically, eye test, people I talk to around the league, he just didn’t dig in defensively.”
In his career, Wiggins never finished with a steal percentage better than 1.5, which he achieved during his rookie season. Through seven games with the Warriors, Wiggins already has posted a 2.5 steal percentage. Block percentage numbers for the wing also have risen, as his 4.3 rate is well above twice his career-high (1.6).
This obviously is a small sample size, but Myers and Kerr hope it can become a trend.
After all, this season’s numbers are of little importance to the front office.
“They’re not getting him to be a 40-win team or a 50-win team, they’re getting him so he can be part of a championship team,” Haberstroh said.