The Warriors have made it no secret that the organization has high hopes for Andrew Wiggins as a defender in his first full season with the team.
Following the Warriors' practice on Saturday, coach Steve Kerr spoke about the expectations for Wiggins on the defensive end.
"We made it a priority in the offseason, we talked to him about potentially being an All-Defensive team player," Kerr told reporters. "Knowing the way our team is structured, we need him to do what Andre did for us for years, what Klay has done over the years, take on the other team's best players and use your strength and athleticism and length to try to make an impact, and I think he's responded really well to that request."
Kevon Looney told reporters earlier this week that Wiggins himself has those same expectations, and through 12 games for the Warriors, the 25-year-old seems to have done what he can to manifest it.
Wiggins currently ranks seventh among all NBA players in blocks (1.8 per game), and set a career-high with five rejections in the Warriors' loss to the Indiana Pacers earlier this week.
He's also been one of the NBA's toughest players to score on in 2020-21, as these numbers from the Warriors' sub-reddit illustrate.
Wiggins didn't have a sterling reputation as a defender when he first got to the Warriors last season, but Kerr believes that has more to do with where he played than his actual on-court production.
"I'm not sure he didn't play good defense in Minnesota, it's just nobody noticed," Kerr said. "The fact that he's here now, this team gets a lot more notoriety, we're on TV a lot more often, so people are now recognizing some of the statistical accomplishments that Andrew has put forth here in the early going of the season in terms of shot challenges and blocked shots."
We've already seen Wiggins defend stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard with great success, and had the contest on Pascal Siakam's game-winning shot attempt in a Warriors win over the Toronto Raptors earlier this season.
He'll have another major challenge Monday when the Warriors take on the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James, but he's done everything the organization has asked of him so far.