Warriors

Wiggins' fit with Warriors clear as ever vs. former team

Warriors

Andrew Wiggins is soft-spoken. The way he carries himself is almost stoic -- never appearing to run too hot or too cold.

That's why the burning question for him following the Warriors' 130-108 win against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, on Monday was about his emotions during the game.

Was there any extra juice there because he was going against the team he played with for six years? As expected, Wiggins' answer was extremely level-headed. But, then he followed it by offering the clearest assessment regarding his former team and playing for the Warriors.

"[The Warriors] are a championship team," Wiggins told reporters after the game. "It's very positive over here. Everybody's getting along. No egos, nothing like that. Everyone just wants to win. It's a winning attitude, winning culture, everything is about winning. And we all want to get better. Everyone is lifting each other up, cheering for each other, so it's all love over here."

Wiggins said Golden State is a franchise he could see himself finishing his career with. And part of that is because of the fit he has within the team. The Timberwolves needed Wiggins to be the next Kevin Love -- to put the franchise on his shoulders. But with the Warriors, he plays alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green. He's not relied upon to be the primary scorer.

 

And when Klay Thompson returns, he won't even need to be the tertiary scorer.

"Andrew has filled a role here that was desperately needed," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Totally different role than what Minnesota was asking of him. I always say there are maybe 10 or 15 players in the league who determine the circumstances on a team. The other 450 are victims or people who excel based on their circumstances. So I think with Andrew our circumstances are perfect.”

So far this season, Wiggins has been the embodiment of consistency -- something that he didn't have in Minnesota. His 23 points and six rebounds Monday night was the latest evidence of this. Wiggins has scored at least 15 points in all but three games so far this year. But it's not just his offense.

Wiggins also has made a clear effort to play solid defense every night. Against the Wolves, Wiggins finished with three blocks and three steals and shut down Minnesota's Malik Beasley in the fourth quarter to help secure the Warriors' win.

His defensive prowess is why his teammates and coaches have started calling him "Two-way Wiggs."

"He's really competing on that end," Draymond Green said. "Since he's been here, he's shown that he's a very capable defender. He's taking that up a couple of notches this year, which has been great for us. He's really changing the game on that end for us."

Wiggins is now sixth in the league in blocks behind five centers. According to Kerr, the goal for Wiggins is to put up All-Defensive Team numbers. Whether he makes the team or not, they want to see him in that conversation.

"He's incredibly athletic and has long limbs and I think he is doing a really good job at embracing the role that we asked of him," Kerr said. "We talked over the summer about him being an All-Defensive Team member and I don't know if it's going to happen. I think he should absolutely be in consideration.

"The numbers are going to show up pretty well for him. The main thing for us is that he is providing the length and athleticism and energy we desperately needed on the wing. He's doing a hell of a job."

RELATED: How matchups with lowly T-Wolves benefit Kerr, Warriors

Having a consistent player such as Wiggins on a Warriors team that has played with anything but consistency through the first 17 games is a key foundational piece for the team. As they develop young players and build chemistry among a group that hasn't had much playing time together, having a guy who will give you the same thing every night is comforting.

Wiggins has built a new identity for himself in Golden State -- one he couldn't have in Minnesota. And because of that, he sees a bright future for himself and this team. So much so, he sees it as the team he wants to carry out the rest of his career with.

"I would love to," Wiggins said. "It's a great organization. They treat me with love and respect here. Treat my family good. So I don't see why not? I would love to."

 

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