Andrew Wiggins‘ first game with the Warriors may have eased the doubts from those who wonder if he will be a good fit for the organization, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Acquired Thursday in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, Wiggins posted 24 points and five steals Saturday night. Coming to Golden State gives him a chance to change the arc of his career after five-and-a-half seasons with the Timberwolves.
“We lost a lot in Minnesota,” Wiggins said. “So coming here, being part of a winning culture, it’s different. Losing’s never fun. Being here, you can tell by everyone’s attitude, everyone’s approach, everything that’s everywhere, they’re winners. That’s something I’ve wanted to be my whole career.”
Slater points out that one of the benefits of making the Russell deal now instead of hoping for a better return this summer is that Wiggins has 30 games to adjust to the Warriors’ style of play. Ideally, he will evolve into a new version of Harrison Barnes, who was able to play power forward in brief stretches next to Draymond Green at center.
“A huge part of this trade is we know Andrew is a better positional fit for us than D’Angelo was,” coach Steve Kerr said. “… To be able to get a valuable wing player is not easy. There’s very few of them in the draft according to scouts and very few of them available in free agency. Wings are hard to come by. Just by bringing in a positional fit, a guy who has a lot of talent, I think the move makes sense.”
There’s more Warriors news this morning:
- Stephen Curry confirmed on last night’s broadcast that he’s targeting the first week of March to return from his broken hand (video from NBA.com). Curry played just four games before suffering the injury in late October. He called his rehab “a work in progress.”
- Marquese Chriss gave himself flexibility by signing for two years rather than three, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Chris will be just 24 years old when he becomes a free agent in 2021.
- After reshaping the roster at the trade deadline, general manager Bob Myers talked about the importance of getting under the luxury tax line for this season (video link from Slater). “To see the numbers of being a repeater the level we would’ve been, the numbers got pretty high,” Myers said. “If we would’ve drafted in top five … the (taxpayer mid-level exception) … the traded player exception, all of a sudden you’re talking high 200 (millions).”