Warriors

What Kirk Lacob cares about most with Andrew Wiggins' Warriors role

Warriors

When the Warriors acquired Andrew Wiggins from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the NBA trade deadline in February, they filled a position of need.

And now the basketball world is anxious to see how the 6-foot-7 small forward fits alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

So what are the realistic expectations for Wiggins next season?

"I just want to see him play the game in a way that helps us win," Golden State's executive VP of basketball operations Kirk Lacob said Thursday on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "We know he's a talented basketball player. Nobody is going to argue that. Can he bring those talents and learn, 'What do I do best with this squad to help win?' That's all that I really care about.

"I don't care how many points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocks he averages ... I want to see him really happy when we win a bunch of games. I want to see him high-fiving our other guys."

Compared to what was asked of him in Minnesota, Wiggins will be adjusting to a new role with the Dubs.

"He looked like a very different player with us," Lacob said. "You go from being the No. 1 pick, the savior, the do-it-all guy on offense, to getting to focus on things that you specialize at, that you're really good at.

 

"We saw that he fits in to our culture, he can fit in with our playing style and I think he enjoyed it. The other thing -- he had to be a leader of a team at 19 (years old). He now gets to be around other people who have led and can grow into what type of leader he wants to be.

"I'm really excited to see how his game continues to evolve. There's a chance that he looks really, really good with this group. He may be really, really happy playing with this group. And that's a big part of playing basketball -- are you happy? Are you confident?"

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

Wiggins averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 12 games in a Warriors uniform, while shooting nearly 46 percent overall and 34 percent from deep.

What specific aspects of his game need improvement?

"I would love to see him really grow as a defender," Lacob said. "That would be huge for us. We lost a lot of length on the perimeter over the last two years. He's so long and athletic, can he use that to his advangtage on defense?

"We saw a little bit of that in the games he was with us. I actually had a conversation with him, I was like, 'You're really athletic and I've seen you block shots at the rim, how come you don't average more blocks?'

"I'm not saying blocks are the end-all (or) be-all. But it's like, 'Man, you can do this.' "

Yes he can. The No. 1 overall pick from the 2014 NBA Draft averaged 1.4 blocks with the Warriors, up from 0.6 blocks over 442 games with the T-Wolves.

What about offensively?

"I would love to see him do a lot off the ball. He needs to improve on that and I think he already showed he can," Lacob explained. "We do love the ability for him to get a shot off. It wasn't always efficient for him in Minnesota, but that is a really valuable skill.

"We don't want him to lose that, but we want him to add all these other things."

[RELATED: Kerr goes to bat for Wiggins: 'He's a damn good player']

 

Wiggins should get a lot more high-efficient attempts within Steve Kerr's offense, and it's not unrealistic at all to assume he increases his shooting percentages across the board.

"There's a lot of untapped stuff with Andrew," Lacob added. "We're really excited to get to know him better and continue that relationship ... I would imagine he's champing at the bit to get up here and get to work."

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