Warriors' early reviews on Andrew Wiggins filled with deserved praise

Warriors' early reviews on Andrew Wiggins filled with deserved praise

SAN FRANCISCO -- It has been four games now, long enough for Andrew Wiggins to play down to his reputation.

Yet the wait continues.

Wiggins has played well above average and miles beyond advertised during his first two weeks with the Warriors, acceptable-to-good on defense and downright efficient on offense. In short, he looks very capable of helping any franchise with a stable environment.

Though the Warriors have lost all four games, including a 135-105 spanking at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Thursday night at Chase Center, Wiggins has performed well enough to be spared the blame.

“People have said he’s overrated, for a couple years,” coach Steve Kerr said after the loss. “He’s become underrated. If you look at what he does, if you look at his size, if you look at the way he defends, the guy is a damn good NBA player. It seems people have forgotten that.”

Wiggins led the Warriors in scoring for the second consecutive game, with 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. He’s averaging 22.7 points over four games, shooting 57.9 percent overall and 52.6 percent from deep.

There has been barely any sign of the typical adjustment period for a player in his initial games with a new franchise.

“One thing that’s been apparent right away is he picks up everything up very quickly,” Kerr said. “He’s had no problem memorizing and recognizing the plays. When we call plays out of a timeout, he’s in the right spot every time. He understands exactly what he’s supposed to do out there and what we’re trying to do.”

Yet it’s his defense that is drawing copious praise from his new teammates. He’s being assigned to dangerous scorers -- LeBron James, Devin Booker and, on Thursday, James Harden -- and is acquitting himself well.

Wiggins is passing the Draymond Green test, which at its baseline requires focus, earnest effort and proper use of physical tools. Draymond believes Wiggins has All-Defensive team potential, a belief nobody in the locker room seems eager to debate.

“He’s been huge for us, obviously defensively, but also offensively,” Damion Lee said.

“He defends his position well,” Kerr added. “He uses his length. The good thing for us is we can sort of plug him in and put him on any of the perimeter players that we want. That’s a really valuable dynamic to have in the player, especially because we’ve got the same dynamic with Klay [Thompson].

“To have that kind of duplicity with those two guys going into next year will be good for us because we can mix and match and neither guy will ever be overpowered physically.”

Thompson is 6-foot-6, with a 6-9 wingspan. Wiggins is 6-7, with 7-foot wingspan, roughly the same as former Warriors star Andre Iguodala. Eight steals and seven blocks in four games are numbers with a very Iguodala-like feel.

[RELATED: Watch Westbrook get ejected after arguing with Dubs' bench]

It hasn’t taken long for Wiggins not only be embraced but also become popular with his teammates. He has, thus far, been the consummate professional who also happens to be productive on the court. He’s going about his business as good as anyone could have hoped.

“I feel like we say, “Just go do you,” honestly, just because, we know who he is,” Eric Paschall said. “We know what he’s capable of. We’ve played him before. He gave us 40 [points] earlier this year. We know what he can do, so none of this is a surprise for us.”

The wait for the much-maligned Wiggins, the one many considered insufficient in trade for D’Angelo Russell, continues. If he never surfaces, the doubters will have to go silent.

Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson looks forward to guarding James Harden

Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson looks forward to guarding James Harden

James Harden scored 29 points on 16 field-goal attempts the last time the Warriors faced the Houston Rockets back on Feb. 20. Houston won that game 135-105, and it sounds like Golden State's Juan Toscano-Anderson was looking forward to the rematch.

With the NBA season indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Toscano-Anderson and the Warriors have some free time on their hands. Toscano-Anderson made use of it by holding a Q&A on Twitter on Saturday night, at which time he was asked which player -- whether teammate or opponent -- he was most looking forward to playing with or against when the season starts back up.

Toscano-Anderson provided multiple answers.

"Excited to get our whole team back to full strength," Toscano-Anderson replied. "I was very excited to guard James Harden."

Well, you've got to appreciate the fact that he's not afraid of a challenge. There might not be a tougher player to guard than Harden in the entire league, but then again, Toscano-Anderson didn't finally establish himself as an NBA player this season by taking the easy way out.

[RELATED: Toscano-Anderson reveals all-time Warriors starting five]

The Warriors and Rockets were scheduled to play each other for a fourth and final time this season in Houston on April 2. Obviously, that particular game won't take place on that day, but whether it is postponed or canceled, Toscano-Anderson surely will have more opportunities to try to make things harder on Harden.

Seven candidates for Warriors' massive Andre Iguodala trade exception


Seven candidates for Warriors' massive Andre Iguodala trade exception

The Warriors don't know if or when the current NBA season will resume, much less the next one. But whenever the 2020-21 season takes place, they'll likely have used several assets at their disposal with which to return to a level of legitimate contention.

But in terms of the Warriors' asset that likely will have the greatest determining impact on their success next season, the $17.2 million trade exception they received for sending Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies last summer stands apart from the rest.

Trade exceptions cannot be combined with others, so through the Iguodala trade exception, Golden State cannot acquire a player making more than $17.2 million (technically, it's $17,185,185.) However, trade exceptions can be split, so the Warriors could theoretically use the Iguodala trade exception to acquire multiple players, as long as their combined salaries don't exceed that amount.

While Golden State should absolutely be able to acquire a good player with that trade exception, the Dubs will have the added challenge of only having a tight window with which to use it. Once the league moratorium concludes at noon ET on July 6 (as currently scheduled), the Warriors will only have until the end of the following day to utilize the exception in a trade. They cannot use it prior to the moratorium, though in theory, they could agree to a trade at any point along the way.

Given the indefinite league stoppage due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it's possible that Golden State will be granted some kind of an extension to use the Iguodala trade exception, but there is no guarantee. Whenever it expires, however, the Warriors would be wise to use it on one of the following seven players prior to that point.