The Golden State Warriors have won four of the last eight NBA championships, and they have an excellent chance of making it five titles in nine years this upcoming season.
But one of the newcomers who has helped resurrect it is Andrew Wiggins, who arrived in a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2019-20 season.
Wiggins just finished a big season that saw him not only make the All-Star team for his first time but also be named as a starter in the mid-season classic.
Now, he is focused on a new goal for the 2022-23 campaign.
“Appearing on ‘The VC Show with Vince Carter‘ on Tuesday, Wiggins told Carter and Ros Gold-Onwude that ‘one thing I’m really gonna strive for this upcoming season is being on the [All-]Defensive Team,'” wrote Eduardo Solano of Yard Barker. “‘That’s a big goal of mine, and hopefully I opened some eyes in the playoffs and I can be on the radar. I ain’t get not one vote this year! I took it personal in the playoffs!’
“‘The defensive team, that’s going to be most important for me. I feel like people never really questioned my scoring, but everyone always questioned my defense. To go out there and get an award for defense, that would be a dream come true for me.'”
Making the All-Defensive team would be yet another step forward in the wonderful evolution of his game.
Wiggins Has Come A Long Way
Wiggins, a 6-foot-7 forward, was the top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In his first five seasons in the NBA, Wiggins was the focal point of a rebuilding Minnesota team, and although he established himself as a strong scoring threat, he wasn’t the most efficient player.
He was regarded by many as a low-IQ gunner, and even worse, as someone who didn’t care about other facets of the game, such as defense.
Towards the end of his tenure in Minnesota, then-teammate Jimmy Butler accused him of being soft during one contentious practice session.
I remember Jimmy Butler said Andrew Wiggins was soft in Minnesota.. Guess who got a ring before Jimbo… 😂😭
— Send 1 Lose 1 🎯 (@Cloud9Dub) June 17, 2022
When Wiggins arrived in Northern California, he was tasked with helping to fill the void that the departed Kevin Durant had left.
The Warriors needed someone who was a team player, an efficient 3-point shooter and a dedicated defender at the small forward position, not a low-efficiency offense-only player, which was Wiggins’ reputation at the time.
Wiggins Has Become The Best Version Of Himself
The Warriors are known for their championship culture, which has been spearheaded by head coach Steve Kerr, and he deserves credit for getting Wiggins to transform his game.
In the 2019-20 campaign, he shot 44.7 percent overall and 33.2 percent from 3-point range, but he upped those numbers last season to 46.6 percent and 39.3 percent, respectively.
He has gone from a player you wanted to shoot 3-pointers to the type of player you don’t want to leave open from that distance.
But his defense has been the most impressive aspect of his game.
He went from a defensive rating of 114 in the 2019-20 season to a 109 rating this past season, and he may just be one of the best defenders at his position.
During the NBA Finals versus the Boston Celtics, he harassed Jayson Tatum into having a terrible series while also playing well offensively.
Andrew Wiggins put CLAMPS on Tatum and the Celtics in Game 5 🔒
He’s found a home in Golden State pic.twitter.com/rYEVMH5i27
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 14, 2022
With the series tied at two wins apiece, Wiggins had 26 points and 13 rebounds to propel the Warriors to a 10-point win.
Andrew Wiggins Game 5 in Finals was special leading Warriors in Points and Rebounds pic.twitter.com/CbNPNDHJBC
— Alex 👋 (@dbs408) August 3, 2022
Golden State must find a way to give Wiggins a contract extension and keep him in the Bay in order to keep its dynasty alive for as long as possible.