When coach Steve Kerr says he wants the Warriors to be a top 10 defensive team, he really, really means it.
He told forward Andrew Wiggins, who has been ridiculed throughout his career for his poor defense, that he can be an All-Defensive Team player in Golden State, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Drew Shiller.
Kerr’s request was based off Wiggins’ athleticism and length, not his past accomplishments. The former No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft has responded in a big way, and he may actually be on his way, incredibly, to All-Defensive Team recognition.
Wiggins already has 20 blocks, good for fifth in the NBA, according to The Athletic. He regularly takes the challenge of guarding the opponent’s best wing player, and he’s had success, notably against Kawhi Leonard in a win against the Clippers and Pascal Siakam in a victory versus the Raptors.
Kerr is brilliant to place Wiggins’ focus on the defensive end. It’s the identity he wants for his team, Wiggins has the athletic skill to be an elite defender, and Kerr’s message to Wiggins about the All-Defensive Team takes his mind of his offense. He naturally gifted there, too, but has been inconsistent — as in thinking too much about it — over his career.
Wiggins is building a fine season for himself in Golden State. If he uses his defense to help the Warriors to the playoffs, the entire NBA will be well aware of the new, defensive-minded Andrew Wiggins.
(Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)