Warriors

Why Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins can be All-Defensive player

Why Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins can be All-Defensive player

SAN FRANCISCO – When Andrew Wiggins came to the Warriors two weeks ago in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, it was as if he arrived with five unwanted tattoos scripted across his 6-foot-8 frame.

Doesn’t play defense.

Doesn’t shoot the 3-ball.

Doesn’t have a passion to be great.

Doesn’t love the game.

Doesn’t, repeating for emphasis, play defense.

Draymond Green, one of Wiggins’ new teammates, is on a quest to remove those invisible tats. Green fully believes they can fade into history, thereby reshaping the reputation attached to Wiggins over five-plus seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I think he can be an All-Defensive (team) player,” Green said after practice Wednesday. “That’s one of my goals for him, as the leader of this team, one of my things that I really want to push him on. He has all the tools. He has the athleticism. He reminds me a lot of Kevin (Durant), where they’re both long and lanky, but agile and can move. Very skinny guys, but not weak. From that aspect, it reminds me a lot of Kevin.

“Kevin’s a great defender. If (Wiggins) can continue to build on that, which I think he can ... on the defensive end, he can be really, really good.”

Wiggins’ defensive stats generally rate at the bottom levels, but there is reason to believe in appreciable improvement. His 2016-17 defensive rating of 107.9 was identical to that of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who entered the league one year earlier. Wiggins has twice over the past four seasons posted better individual defensive ratings than Trevor Ariza, who still maintains a reputation as a solid, if declining, defender.

Those numbers don’t vary much from those Wiggins posts in defensive win shares and defensive box plus/minus.

Such statistics, however, only hint at a player’s impact, rarely capturing the complete tale. There is plenty of video exposing Wiggins’ defensive ineffectiveness, and every one of them is with him as a part of a Timberwolves defense that annually ranked among the NBA’s worst.

Minnesota ranked no higher than 24th in defensive rating in any of the five full seasons with Wiggins on the roster. Only once over that span did the Timberwolves reach the playoffs.

“The thought wasn’t that he was a bad defender, anyway,” Green said, pointing out that the Warriors never sought to target him on that end. “He just hasn’t really been in a winning situation. And that’s when the defense gets the notoriety. He hasn’t been in that situation.”

Green also pushed back on the notion that Wiggins is low on desire, in the NBA perhaps for reasons other than love of the game.

“He wants to be great,” Green said. “He’s a guy who has been beat down a lot. Once again, people never talk about the situation guys are in. He wants to be great. He’s not demonstrative. He’s not very talkative. People would never say that or see it.

“But just talking to him, trying to get to know him and watching him work, he wants to be really good. I take that upon myself as a leader of this team, as one of the older guys on this team ... I want to help him do that any way I can.”

Not grasping, or even observing, reasons for the many critiques of Wiggins’ game, Draymond’s assessment is of a 23-year-old still building a career that has been no worse than respectable.

“That guy has averaged 20 points a game (actually 19.7) for three or four years, probably over his career,” Green said. “It’s not a f---ing bum we’re talking about. So, I’m not going to sit here and act like we found some diamond-in-the-rough that no one (knew about). He was the No. 1 pick. He’s averaged 20. He’s a player.”

[RELATED: Draymond jokes about wanting buyout from Warriors]

Green has spent the past few seasons providing guidance, offering constructive criticism while also giving his share of pep talks. Those things didn’t seem to move D’Angelo Russell, a tremendous scorer who plays to a beat only he can hear.

Wiggins is more malleable. And listening closely to Draymond’s vociferous defense of his new teammate, while also vowing full support, it’s clear that his new project is one in which he believes.

Trae Young says he'll catch Steph Curry as NBA's best shooter in 1 year

Trae Young says he'll catch Steph Curry as NBA's best shooter in 1 year

In light of the coronavirus outbreak putting all American sports on an indefinite pause, hot takes have become the topic du jour for fans relegated to their homes.

While joining “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young was pressed on the many comparisons the young point guard draws to Warriors star Steph Curry.

On the subject of taking over Curry’s title as the NBA’s most feared shooter, Young doesn’t think it will be long before he overtakes Steph.

[RELATED: Watch Steph make someone's day by joining their IG Live]

It’s hard to take any stock in this statement given how much Shaq pressed the 21-year-old to answer.

But Young’s talent is unmistakable, and there’s a chance we’ll see Young resetting the record books one day the way Curry has throughout his 11 years in the NBA.

A year though? I’d imagine Curry and his teammates would disagree with that timeline.

Why Steph Curry's NBA parallel might be ex-Warriors exec Jerry West

Why Steph Curry's NBA parallel might be ex-Warriors exec Jerry West

Steph Curry forever has altered the game of basketball during his 11 seasons with the Warriors.

Shattering record after record, Curry became the face of the NBA’s evolution toward emphasizing the 3-pointer.

His unique qualities make him a difficult player to compare, but one that makes some sense is Hall of Famer Jerry West.

“With impact and accolades in the mix,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley writes. “Then “The Logo” Jerry West looks like the answer. Maybe that's why the basketball gods brought them together when West served as a consultant for Curry's Warriors for six seasons.

“It's not a perfect comparison -- Curry was a better dribbler, West a superior stopper who played without the 3-point line (added in 1979-80) -- but the 6'3" Curry and 6'2" West found their spots on the game's all-time hierarchy in similar ways.”

[RELATED: Monta says coach Nelson doubted the 'We Believe' Warriors]

West was an integral part of Golden State’s dynastic run through the 2010s, providing a sage voice for a front office unfamiliar with success.

What a sight it would have been to actually see those two line up across from each other in an NBA game.