Warriors Starter Models Defensive Play After Former Laker Legend

Andrew Wiggins

Getty Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers posts up Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Golden State Warriors are 3-2 in their last 5 games and seem to be building the chemistry they had hoped for. Their two-time MVP Steph Curry has continued his All-Star play, their star forward Draymond Green has helped to improve the Warriors’ defense from the bottom five in the NBA to Top-15, and one of their starters is beginning to show promise they thought he would.

Swingman Andrew Wiggins has played stellar on the defensive end guarding the opposing team’s best players and averaging the most blocks of any previous season with 1.6 per game. Offensively, he’s continuing his upward trend by shooting a career-best 40.7% from behind the three-point line.

After the team’s most recent win against his former team the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wiggins discussed who he’s modeled his game after defensively.

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Wiggins Watches Former Lakers All-Time Great

Andrew Wiggins

GettyKobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends adjacent Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Coming into the NBA, Wiggins had high expectations after being the #1 overall pick. While he hasn’t been able to be the franchise savior some expected, he fits in quite well with the Warriors being a reliable defender and creator on offense.

Part of the reason for his great play is the countless hours of film he’s watched on one former Los Angeles Laker All-Time great and one Chicago Bulls legend.

“Kobe [Bryant]. He was always into it defensively,” Wiggins said to reporters via NBC Sports. Me and one of the coaches here, Aaron Miles, we watched some film on [Scottie] Pippen — just how he would defend. How he would defend bigs, or guards that are smaller than him. How he would pick up full court. Pippen was … he was different.”

VideoVideo related to warriors starter models defensive play after former laker legend2021-01-27T22:06:08-05:00

Wiggins had good reason to play inspired basketball. After being traded by the Timberwolves to the Warriors many wrote him off as someone who wouldn’t live up to his draft hype. This would cause some players to press more and potentially play worse. Yet Wiggins knows he’s with a good organization and is doing his best to stay the course and focus.

“Stuff happens. It’s a business. I’m happy here. I’m happy with the team, with the coaches, my role on the team and hopefully we can keep it going and have a successful season,” Wiggins stated to Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike via NBC Sports.

“I’m just staying under control. Trying to go at my own speed, and not trying to rush anything. The offense on this team is great. We all get touches. We’re all in great rhythm, so when I get the ball, I just try to make the best decision possible.”

Wiggins and Steve Kerr Discussed the ‘All-Defensive Team’

Andrew Wiggins

GettyJulius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks passes the ball over the top of Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors.

Wiggins may not be the first option on the team anymore but he has high hopes on the defensive end. Wanting to be mentioned alongside Kobe Bryant and Scottie Pippen, he and Kerr spoke about how his defensive effort can get him where he wants to be.

“We talked over the summer about him being an All-Defensive Team member and I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I think he should absolutely be in consideration,” Kerr quipped.

“The numbers are going to show up pretty well for him. The main thing for us is that he is providing the length and athleticism and energy we desperately needed on the wing. He’s doing a hell of a job.”

If Wiggins can keep up his high level of play he might just be the next name mentioned alongside them.

READ NEXT: Steph Curry Has Strong Reaction to James Harden’s Trade to Brooklyn Nets

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