Warriors

What Amin Elhassan texted Steve Kerr after Warriors' Andrew Wiggins trade

What Amin Elhassan texted Steve Kerr after Warriors' Andrew Wiggins trade

Steve Kerr and the Warriors have a tall task on their hands: Rehabilitate Andrew Wiggins' on-court reputation.

Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick, hasn't lived up to the hype. The "counting" numbers might look good, but the advanced stats tell a different picture: Wiggins is a bad defensive player and isn't a great perimeter shooter.

Can the Warriors' culture get the best out of Wiggins, who was acquired Thursday from the T-Wolves for D'Angelo Russell? That's the hope, but ESPN's Amin Elhassan isn't a believer.

"I'm skeptical," Elhassan said on The Habershow with NBC Sports' NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh. "When I texted Steve Kerr today, I said, 'If you can turn Andrew Wiggins into a player, you need to demand in your next contract that you make half of what [Wiggins] makes.' "

For the record, Wiggins is making just over $27 million this season, and his salary goes up roughly $2 million each of the next three seasons.

Haberstroh contended that Wiggins has the physical abilities to be a good defensive player, and that going from the "joyless" situation in Minnesota to the excellent culture with the Warriors could help the 24-year-old.

Elhassan wasn't having it.

"Even if you're skeptical of any sort of analytic measurement, let's sit down and watch the tape," Elhassan said. "Watch the dude miss rotations. Watch the dude overplay. Watch this dude fall asleep on assignments. Other than just looking at him walking into a gym, there's no evidence that this dude is a defensive player."

[RELATED: Warriors admit Russell didn't fit]

The Warriors don't have the defense they had during their championship years, but they still have former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, one of the best wing defenders in the league. Plus, defensive guru Ron Adams is still around. So the Warriors have the pieces in place to get more out of Wiggins.

If the Warriors can tap into Wiggins' potential, Elhassan will be eating his words and Kerr should be making a lot more money.

Andrew Wiggins-Steph Curry duo's potential shown in Warriors NBA 2K sim

Andrew Wiggins-Steph Curry duo's potential shown in Warriors NBA 2K sim

Editor’s note: With the NBA season halted over coronavirus concerns, Warriors fans have unanswered questions about the team and how it’s building toward the future. To provide answers, NBC Sports Bay Area will simulate some previously scheduled Warriors games through NBA 2K, mixing video-game results with real-life insights for our coverage team.

Even amid the NBA season suspension due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Andrew Wiggins enters the spring as the Warriors' biggest question mark.

A former No. 1 overall draft pick, Wiggins' potential drops jaws, while his inconsistency is head-scratching. Upon arrival, the Warriors believed his ability would bode well alongside Steph Curry and the team's culture.

In a simulation of the March 28 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder using NBA 2K20, Wiggins showed promise towards that goal in a 117-110 loss.

In the digital confines, Wiggins finished with 35 points, getting most of his buckets within the flow of the Warriors' motion offense.

"I think he really fits well," Draymond Green said of Wiggins last month. "As seamless as it could possibly be, I think he can fit right in. He can score the basketball, he can run the wings, he's a pretty good defender. So I think he'll definitely fit in with this core for a long time."

Similar performances weren't as consistent during Wiggins' first four seasons in Minnesota. Wiggins didn't live up to the expectations that come with being a franchise player. His offensive inconsistency quickly drew the ire of NBA observers. Worse, Wiggins became one of the worst defenders in the league, even after he signed a five-year, $145 million contract.

Nonetheless, the Warriors saw potential in the 25-year old, trading former All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell, along with Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman, in part to pair Wiggins with Curry. In the 2K simulation, the pairing worked, as the tandem combined for 62 points on the night.

The performance was consistent with Wiggins' lone real-world game alongside the former MVP. Against the Raptors back on March 5, the duo combined for 44 points in Curry's return from a broken left hand.

Curry's first highlight against the Raptors came with the help of his Canadian teammate, when he took a dribble in the lane, drew a double-team and fired a behind the back pass to Wiggins in the lane, leading to an easy layup, surprising Wiggins in the process.

"I didn't even know it was coming, really," Wiggins admitted after the loss to the Raptors. "I was kind of watching like it may come, but then when he went behind the back I was just trying to catch it. It was a hell of a pass."

"I'm very excited," Wiggins added. "He's an MVP player, one of the greats. He helped transition the game with his 3s and how fast he plays. So, I'm excited."

[RELATED: How Steph perform in Warriors-Hawks sim]

Wiggins' virtual performance Saturday coincided with his strong play during his short stint in the Bay Area. In his last five games, he averaged 20 points on 46 percent shooting from the field. If Wiggins continues to build on his current play, the Warriors will see the potential they've wanted all along, making for an intriguing process Wiggins says he's ready for.

"I feel like I've adjusted well," Wiggins told NBC Sports Bay Area earlier in March. "I've never played with anyone as good as him. By far, he's the best player that I've played with. Just getting a chance to learn from him and feeding off him and just learning."

Watch every Steph Curry 3-pointer with Warriors from 30 feet and beyond

Watch every Steph Curry 3-pointer with Warriors from 30 feet and beyond

Today is the 30th day in March.

Warriors superstar Steph Curry wears No. 30.

Obviously, that means you should watch every single 3-pointer the two-time NBA MVP has made in his career from 30 feet and beyond.

Thank you to our friends at the Warriors for making this possible:

You watched all 87, right? What's your favorite?

Is it the famous 37-footer against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 27, 2016? What about the 62-footer he swished at the end of the third quarter in Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies?

[RELATED: What separates Steph Curry as favorite among all Bay Area MVP athletes]

There just are so many incredible ones to choose from.

Now go spend 10 more minutes watching all 87 again ...

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