Andrew Wiggins didn’t need any time to get adjusted with his new team.
Wiggins dropped 24 points while shooting 8-of-12 from the field in 30 minutes in his debut with the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center on Saturday night, just days after he was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Though the Warriors couldn’t get past the Los Angeles Lakers — who led for nearly the entire night and even built up a 21-point lead en route to the 125-120 win — Golden State coach Steve Kerr said he is thrilled to have a player like Wiggins at his disposal.
Steve Kerr on Andrew Wiggins’ debut: “It’s good to have a player who we can put on LeBron and at least match up physically.” pic.twitter.com/TxIAA0OlE2— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 9, 2020
“It’s just great to have a player who we can put on LeBron and at least match up physically,” Kerr said, via Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “It’s the hardest position to guard these days in the NBA, so to have a guy who's 6-foot-8 and athletic and knows the league well, understands how to play, it’s great.
“Our roster has been really torn apart between the retirement and injuries and free agency, so I think it’s a huge addition for us to be able to add Andrew on the wing. It’s a position we had to fill, and we feel really good about it.”
Wiggins was traded to Golden State in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman on Thursday. Minnesota also included two future draft picks in the deal.
He arrived in the Bay Area on Friday night, and was quickly thrust into the starting lineup on Saturday — undoubtedly a quick transition.
Kerr knows it will take a minute for Wiggins to learn their system, which is why he didn’t ask much of the former Kansas standout in his first outing.
“I just said sprint the floor both ways,” Kerr said, via 95.7 The Game. “That’s the only thing we’re asking, especially here in the first week without him having much knowledge of our playbook. We just stuck to a couple of basic actions, and I just told him, ‘No matter what happens, we need you to sprint the floor both ways.’
“When we are whole, we’ve got a couple guys who really throw the ball ahead in transition … Andrew can get out with such speed that he’ll be a great weapon for us going forward.”
“I just said sprint the floor both ways. That’s the only thing we’re asking.”— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) February 9, 2020
Steve on what he told Wiggins (who arrived in the bay just last night) before his Warriors debut. pic.twitter.com/cqMm5KCSrl
The 24-year-old averaged 22.4 points and 5.2 assists with Minnesota this season, his sixth in the league after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. He’s in the second year of a massive five-year, $147 million deal.
Though they lost on Saturday, and currently boast the worst record in the NBA, Wiggins said he can already tell a big difference in the Bay Area.
“We lost a lot in Minnesota. So coming here, being part of a winning culture, it’s different,” Wiggins said, via Slater. “Being here, you can tell by everyone’s attitude, approach, everything that’s everywhere, they’re winners. That’s something I’ve wanted to be.”
It’s not just the “the winning culture” he and his family are happy about, either.
“I’ve lived my whole life in the cold. I’m very excited. My girlfriend is excited. My daughter, she doesn’t know yet but she’s going to be excited.”— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) February 9, 2020
Andrew Wiggins is excited for California weather 😂☀️ pic.twitter.com/yTXxiZXLyc
“I’ve lived my whole life in the cold,” Wiggins said, via 95.7 The Game. “I’m very excited. My girlfriend is excited. My daughter, she doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to be excited.”
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