Golden State forward Andrew Wiggins has ambitious goals. He wants another NBA championship, another All-Star appearance and a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive Team. He also hopes to emulate Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala in a unique way.
“Those are Warriors legends and Bay legends. Hopefully by the time I’m done, people will look at me like that,” Wiggins said. “I just have to keep putting in the work and accomplish what they have accomplished.”
The Warriors (2-2) have been inconsistent entering Thursday’s game (10 ET, NBA TV) against the Miami Heat (1-3). Not Wiggins, who is ranked second on the Warriors in scoring (20.8 points per game) and first in rebounding (6.3 rpg). As Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “This is the best I have ever seen from Wiggins.”
Wiggins, who signed a $109 million extension during training camp, spoke with NBA.com about that extension, about Kerr’s evaluation, and more.
Editor’s note: The following 1-on-1 phone conversation has been condensed and edited.
NBA.com: How do you build off of last season?
Focus on the same things. Just grinding, working on my shot and working on my ball handling. I want to do whatever I can to help the team win. Whether it’s scoring, rebounding or defending the team’s best player, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as I can help us win and give us a chance to do something special, I’m all for it.
What are your season goals?
To win a championship, aim for All-Star and make an All-Defensive team.
What will it take to reach those goals?
We have to win games. I have to stay consistent with my scoring and my defending. I have to keep working hard. I feel like if I give my all on the court, it’ll show.
Klay Thompson said he’s relieved he can rely on you to defend the team’s best perimeter player. How do you look at that dynamic?
(laughs). I’m looking forward to it. I love playing defense. It’s a special part of my game, and I enjoy it. There’s nothing better than stopping your opponent. I have the best feeling in the world after getting a stop. Scoring is icing on the cake. But getting a stop? I think that’s what people feed off of. When you get stops, it makes things easier on the other side of the floor.
Kerr said this is the best he has seen you play. He also said he expects you to replicate the rebounding you had in the playoffs last season (7.5 rpg). How do you view that evaluation?
I appreciate the words. I’m just working hard. I worked hard this summer. I worked hard in training camp. And I’m trying to get off to a good start. I’m just staying locked in and putting the extra effort in to try to get those 50-50 balls and rebounds.
You told The Athletic recently that you want to be a ‘legend.’ What does that look like to you?
Andre [Iguodala], Draymond [Green], Klay, Steph [Curry] — those are Warriors legends and Bay legends. Hopefully by the time I’m done, people will look at me like that. I just have to keep putting in the work and accomplish what they have accomplished. That is a lot of motivation. They have accomplished so much while they’ve been here with all of their titles and dominating the league. I’m trying to follow what they did.
Did you see it coming that you and the Warriors would agree to an extension before the season started?
We went back-and-forth a lot. I feel like it’s a cool number. That’s why I was ready to get started and put it all behind me so I could get ready for the season with no worries.
Beyond what you just said, why were you willing to take a relative pay cut and also pass on a potentially bigger deal next summer?
You never know what can happen. I like it here. They treat me well, and it’s a good organization. They’re a winning organization. I didn’t want to leave, unless I had to do.
On the flip side, how did it land with you that the Warriors showed a long-term commitment with you despite concerns about their high payroll and looming luxury tax bill?
Whenever a team puts their faith in you and gives you a contract, you can only be grateful. Not everyone gets those certain contracts. So, I’m grateful and appreciative. I’m going to work my butt off.
After helping the Warriors win the NBA title, you and Jordan recorded an Instagram Live Video in the locker room and predicted, “we’re about to get a bag!” What do you remember about your emotions then?
Poole and Wiggins called it back in June 💰🗣️ pic.twitter.com/DWhPpp8iEn
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 15, 2022
I remember it all. It was a really, really good memory. We were both excited after the game. We both played well. We hoped and knew they would offer us something good, and they did. We manifested it, and it came true.
How did you and Jordan strike a close bond?
It just happened. We worked out a little bit this summer. He is definitely my guy. I know how hard he works. I have all the respect for him.
Given your standing on the team and close friendship with Jordan, how did you try to handle everything after Draymond’s fight with him?
Be there for him, make sure he’s good and let them handle it. They’re grown men. Only they will know when they’re ready to squash everything. They might have already. I see them talking and stuff like that. We’re all here, and our main goal is to win a championship. All I can do is be there to support those guys.
What were your favorite moments from ‘Ring Night?’
Just receiving the ring and seeing it for the first time was amazing. It felt like we won all over again. It was hard for me to sleep that day and the day before.
What were the highlights with bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to your hometown (Vaughan City, Ontario, Canada) during the offseason?
It was a good time. A lot of people in the city came out and had a party. I had my basketball camp there and brought the trophy out for the kids so they could take pictures with it. It was a great feeling. There were people I hadn’t seen in 10 years. It was a good chance to see everyone, enjoy some good food and enjoy each other’s company.
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