From a roster standpoint, it always made more sense. A Warriors team with Andrew Wiggins -- instead of D'Angelo Russell -- to pair with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green completed the puzzle in a more constructive manner.
Russell looked good and could shine bright, but he didn't exactly gel with this jigsaw.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr reiterated what a difference Wiggins makes for the Warriors compared to Russell. He knows Russell's talent on offense, that's undeniable. What Wiggins can do, though, fits the coach's philosophy much better.
“It’s much easier (with Wiggins) to picture a defense forming -- a versatile, switchable defense -- which has been the name of the game for us over the years,” Kerr said to The Athletic's David Aldridge on the "Hoops, Adjacent" podcast. “It makes much more sense from a roster standpoint, positional standpoint.
"And now it’s on us to put it all together. And I think Andrew’s going to be great."
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Wiggins, 25, is 6-foot-7 and swings right into the Warriors' starting small forward role. When he came into the NBA as the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, many thought the athletic wing would be a defensive star. That hasn't been the case, though.
But when he joined the Warriors in a trade that sent Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, his steals and blocks both went up as Kerr constantly had good things to say about his effort. The coach doesn't want Wiggins to be a star. He wants him to play strong defense, use his athleticism as a slasher and nail 3-pointers.
It certainly helps that Wiggins will play with a healthy trio of Curry, Thompson and Green next season. He only shared the court once last season with Curry, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 121-113 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Thompson and Green both were out with injuries, but Kerr believes Wiggins will work right away with the trio.
"I think he’ll fit in really well with Steph and Klay and Draymond," Kerr said. "We’re really excited about our possibilities with the roster next year.”
Wiggins went from 22.4 points per game in Minnesota last season to 19.4 after joining the Warriors. But in Golden State, his 3-point percentage and effective field goal percentage improved, as well as his defensive rating. Kerr has to be happy about that.
The Warriors have a former No. 1 pick in the building who should be pressure-free as the Splash Brothers take the lead on offense. Now, he just has to fit and not try to do too much. His coach believes that won't be a problem at all.