Warriors Coach Gets Real on All-Star Wing: ‘Best I’ve Ever Seen’

Andrew Wiggins Warriors-Nuggets

Getty Andrew Wiggins drives with the ball during a game between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets.

The first week of the 2022-23 NBA campaign is officially on the books and, from the 40,000-foot view, things look to be going relatively well for the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs won two of their first three games, Stephen Curry has played at an MVP level and the team is scoring more points per game (125.3) than any team in the league.

And yet, head coach Steve Kerr — and fans with discerning eyes — have found a lot more to complain about than to praise so far. In particular, the Warriors play-caller has been aghast over his crew’s transition D.

Kerr isn’t totally angst-ridden by the Warriors’ early performance though — even as it includes the total evaporation of a monster lead against the Kings and a defensive nightmare in the Nuggets game.

He has been especially impressed with former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, who became an All-Star for the first time last season and looks to have picked up right where he left off this year.

Kerr Speaks Out on Wiggins’ Growth & Confidence

During a recent media session, Kerr — who was still ornery after the shocking near-loss against Sacto — was asked if there had been anything that had actually impressed him through the first batch of games. In his eyes, Wiggins was No. 1 with a bullet on the positive side of his ledger.

“I think Wiggins — this is the best I’ve ever seen Wiggs,” Kerr declared. “He was an All-Star last year, he helped us win a championship and I think he’s used that momentum that he gained a year ago to kind of springboard into this season.”

Wiggins has scored 20-plus points in all three of the Dubs’ games to date, logging an overall line of 22.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per contest. He has also connected on 52.0% of his shot attempts, 38.1% of his tries from deep and 70.0% of his foul shots.

Going beyond the numbers, though, Kerr believes that the baller’s feel and belief in himself/what he’s doing are at their highest points since he first arrived in the Bay.

“I don’t think he’s ever looked more confident, not only in his own game but with what we’re doing and how we play…” Kerr said. “He’s making those simple plays, but then he’s attacking when he needs to attack and just playing really efficient basketball and playing great defense.”

Wiggins Has Had a Measurable Positive Impact

It’s not just the basic counting stats that paint a glowing portrait of Wiggins’ early-season efforts; the advanced metrics have done the same. In his 98 minutes on the court, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by 19.2 points per 100 possessions, the third-best mark on the team and one that outpaces those of Steph and Klay Thompson.

Wiggins also ranks second among Dubs players in win shares per 48 minutes (trailing Steph by just .005 at .227 to .222), second in box plus/minus (4.0) and second in PER (23.3).

Something else worth noting just in terms of Wiggins’ evolution as a player: he’s taking a greater percentage of his shots from deep (42%) than ever before, which has done wonders for his ever-improving scoring efficiency.

Read More