Warriors

How Andrew Wiggins won over Damion Lee, Warriors with quest to improve

How Andrew Wiggins won over Damion Lee, Warriors with quest to improve

The Warriors didn't see a whole lot of Andrew Wiggins, but they saw enough to get excited.

Wiggins, who joined Golden State ahead of February's NBA trade deadline, played just 12 games with the Warriors before the NBA season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. He averaged 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in that stretch, winning over his new teammates in the process.

"I love Wiggs," Warriors guard Damion Lee said of Wiggins on this week's episode of the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "He's quiet and reserved, but even from the point of just playing with him from the first game even until the last game that we had, you can tell that he knows how to play the game and wants to continue to learn more."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Wiggins No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, headlining a trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves that brought Kevin Love to Northeast Ohio. Wiggins showed flashes and even signed a max contract that went into effect ahead of the 2018-19 season, but he never consistently put it together in the Twin Cities. The 25-year-old never shot better than 46 percent from the field (or 36 percent from beyond the arc) with the T-Wolves while also struggling on the defensive end.

Wiggins' arrival in the Bay Area was a breath of fresh air, the Warriors said, because of their hole on the wing after signing-and-trading Kevin Durant and outright trading Andre Iguodala last summer. Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams was pleased with Wiggins' defense, and the 1.3 steals per game Wiggins averaged with Golden State before the shutdown would've, if sustained over the course of a full season, been his career high.

The forward's role will look much different next season, as it's difficult to imagine Wiggins averaging 15-plus field-goal attempts per game while playing alongside a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Coach Steve Kerr isn't expecting Wiggins to be a star once Curry and Thompson return, and Lee said Wiggins' versatility will allow him to thrive in a reduced role.

"He can shoot it, can make plays, can create," Lee continued. "He had a game where he had 10 assists (against the Denver Nuggets on March 3), I think he had another game where he had 10 rebounds (against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 23). He has it, and obviously once the whole band is back together ... and everyone's healthy, I feel like Wiggs' role will be carved out and he'll be able to excel to the best of his ability."

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for Warriors' important offseason]

Wiggins has had big nights before, but he hasn't sustained them into stardom. His per-game averages with the Warriors this season didn't look all that different from his Timberwolves career (19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game), but the former No. 1 pick isn't going to carry the same offensive load next season.

The Warriors are counting on that fact bringing out the best in him.

Watch Warriors' Klay Thompson use dog Rocco for curls during workout

Watch Warriors' Klay Thompson use dog Rocco for curls during workout

Normally, Rocco just watches Klay Thompson when he's working out. But on Tuesday, the pooch got in on the action.

In a video posted by the Warriors shooting guard, he did 12 curls where he used Rocco as the weight.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In early July, Thompson posted a video of Rocco providing moral support while he rehabbed his surgically repaired left ACL.

During the early days of Thompson's rehab, Rocco was at his side as he went through rigorous exercises with a trainer.

Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 NBA season after tearing his left ACL against the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He reportedly was medically cleared to start training without restrictions in June.

[RELATED: Trainer says Steph "bouncy and energetic"]

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Monday that Thompson and Steph Curry worked out together at some point over the last few months.

I think we can safely assume Rocco also was there for the Splash Brothers' workout.

Andre Iguodala discusses different approaches between Warriors, Heat

Andre Iguodala discusses different approaches between Warriors, Heat

In terms of proximity, the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat are not close to each other.

And when it comes to certain components of how each franchise operates on a day-to-day basis, they are far apart as well.

“They take two different approaches," former Golden State forward Andre Iguodala recently told Mark Medina of USA Today Sports. "But they’re trying to get to the same place. Neither approach is wrong."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra come from different backgrounds, and don't share the same philosophies. There's nothing wrong with that whatsoever, as there is more than one way to build a culture that leads to success.

The 2015 NBA Finals MVP didn't shed too much light on how Golden State and Miami differ, but Medina provided some additional context.

"Iguodala has adapted to a completely different style than what he became accustomed to at Golden State," he writes. "He admittedly could pace himself during the season, while (Steph) Curry, (Kevin) Durant, (Klay) Thompson and (Draymond) Green handled most of the workload.

"The Warriors also had light practices because of their extensive trips to the Finals. In Miami, Iguodala has become exposed to harder practices and prolonged film sessions in hopes to accelerate the Heat’s development."

All of this makes perfect sense.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But what does confuse some people at times is how to quantify Iguodala's impact, because he didn't consistently register big box-score numbers in a Dubs uniform and doesn't do that for the Heat either.

“You can’t put an analytic to his game with how many different ways he can impact your team in regards to winning,” Spoelstra told Medina. “You have to have him in your locker room and see him out on the floor to truly understand.

"Every coach in this league recognizes he is a winner because he does so many winning things.”

[RELATED: Why Bill Simmons believes Iguodala belongs in Hall of Fame]

These comments probably sound very familiar to Warriors fans, as we used this space over the years to highlight Iguodala's immense importance to the Warriors.

Yours truly can't wait to watch how the 36-year-old helps the Heat in the playoffs.

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