How Andrew Wiggins' quick learning has led to early Warriors success

How Andrew Wiggins' quick learning has led to early Warriors success

Andrew Wiggins is acclimating well with the Warriors. 

The 24-year-old has averaged 22.8 points, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.8 blocks in four games since joining Golden State from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a trade for guard D'Angelo Russell, all while shooting 57.9 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Wiggins is proving himself to be a fast study, according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, allowing the Canadian wing to hit the ground running in his new home.

"The great thing with Andrew is he's a really quick learner," Kerr told KGMZ-FM's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" in an interview Friday. "Some guys take a lot of time to absorb a new offense [and] new terminology, and he picks everything up right away. It's been a really quick transition, but the communication is constant. We watch film -- both as a team and individually -- and we're just trying to give him a crash course in what we're trying to do.

Kerr said he and Wiggins speak "pretty much" every practice, as the coach explains the Warriors' thinking behind their strategies and how Wiggins fits in. While Wiggins learns about the Warriors, Kerr is learning about his newest player.

He doesn't think the perception of Wiggins matches the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft's reality. 

"It's a small sample size, but I'm looking at it [and I'm] thinking, 'Yeah, he's pretty damn good,' " Kerr said in the same interview. "But people wanted him to be the next game-changer ... because he was the No. 1 pick [in 2014]. And because he wasn't that, I think everyone has been focusing on the negatives rather than looking at the positives.

"And the good thing about a second chance in a new environment for Andrew is that it's an opportunity for everyone to see him in a different light, and for him to take advantage of a new opportunity."

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Wiggins with the top selection six years ago before flipping him to the Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love. Wiggins was supposed to lead Minnesota's turnaround, but he sparingly starred in Minneapolis. 

He got off to a really hot start this season, averaging 25.9 points -- on 47.8 percent shooting -- in the first 11 games of the season. Wiggins regressed to his Minnesota mean and averaged 21.2 points over his final 31 games with the T-Wolves, shooting just 43 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc. 

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The Warriors' first four glimpses at Wiggins have gone just about as well as they could have hoped, though, and they soon will be able to evaluate how he fits alongside two-time MVP Steph Curry. Curry still is targeting a March 1 return, and how the two mesh down the stretch will go a long way in determining if Golden State has a new-and-improved Wiggins on its hands. 

Kerr, at the very least, won't worry too much about Wiggins adjusting to new circumstances on the fly.

"I think he's excited to be here," Kerr continued. "We're thrilled to have him, and I think it's a great fit."

You can catch Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin on Warriors pre and postgame live for tonight's game agains the New Orleans Pelicans. Coverage starts at 4:30 p.m on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights didn’t have an extended tenure with the Warriors, but it was full of exciting moments.

The reliable stretch four was a valuable reserve in Golden State, including being part of the 2015 NBA championship team. Since leaving the Bay Area after the 2015-16 season, Speights has played for two other NBA teams and spent a few seasons playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak putting a hold on American sports, Speights was slated to join the BIG3 via one of the league’s new expansion franchises.

“I just think it’s a platform for me to play basketball,” Speights said on a special, virtual edition of “Warriors Outsiders" last week. “I did a lot of things in the NBA, I won a championship, that’s the most important goal.

“So for me, being back to playing basketball is just gonna be fun.”

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The roar Speights would get if he took the floor at Chase Center sometime in the future would be incredible.

The league was scheduled to get underway in June, although it remains to be seen when many American sports will be able to pick things back up after this extended hiatus.

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

General manager Bob Myers and the Warriors front office have some work to do whenever the NBA offseason begins.

After five straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors have the worst record in the NBA this season.

So, it’s up to Myers and Co. to add a few pieces that will help the Warriors get back into contention for an NBA title.

In addition to having one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft and a massive $17.2 million trade exception acquired in the Andre Iguodala deal, the Warriors will have the ability to use the taxpayer mid-level exception, which ESPN’s Bobby Marks estimated will be around $5.9 million.

That number is based on the salary cap, and if that number goes down due to the loss of revenue caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the value of the taxpayer mid-level exception could shrink as well.

Hard capped by the D’Angelo Russell-Kevin Durant trade with Brooklyn last summer, the Warriors couldn’t go over the luxury tax line this past season. But in 2020-21, the hard cap is gone and Draymond Green’s contract extension kicks in, meaning Golden State will cross the luxury tax threshold.

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The Warriors can use the entire taxpayer MLE to sign one player or they can split up the total to sign several players.

Here are 11 pending free agents, in no particular order, that the Warriors could use the Taxpayer MLE on this offseason: