Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins discusses the team’s objective to reconnect
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Steph Curry’s post-practice routine usually consists of him getting shots up by himself while assistant coach Bruce Fraser feeds him the ball. Someone is taking part this year.
After each of the Warriors’ practices to kick off training camp, Chris Paul was seen running drills and taking shots alongside Curry. Two former rivals joining forces and brainpower; it’s just one of many examples of how determined the Warriors are to unify a once-fractious locker room. Curry and Paul were organizing all-team mini-camps from Los Angeles to Las Vegas even before training camp started to start building that bond.
It’s no secret that the Warriors’ disjointed locker room was a major reason for their mediocre record and early playoff exit last year. That dysfunction can be traced back to Draymond Green’s preseason punch on Jordan Poole, but injuries and an unexplained two-month absence from Andrew Wiggins exacerbated the chemistry issues. Wiggins can now reflect on the impact of his absence months later.
“I don’t think it was Jordan (Poole)’s fault for the lack of the team being connected, it was a bunch of things,” he stated. “I wasn’t there for a long time, but I’d like to think I’m one of the team’s most important defensive and offensive players.” I’m assisting the team in any way I can.”
Wiggins, 28, has stated that he intends to play all 82 games and compete for his second career All-Star selection. Putting last year’s absence aside, the Warriors could improve significantly from last season if Wiggins can regain his 2021-22 form. A roster that has become even older and possibly less athletic in recent years requires as much Wiggins as possible to defend opposing teams’ best players.
Wiggins stated that his body and mind are in good shape. He’s back on track, and as he enters his 10th season in the NBA and fifth with the Warriors, he hopes to lead the way in reviving the team’s chemistry.
“It is something that we know we needed more of last year that wasn’t really there,” he stated. “It’s easier to win games at home where you’re comfortable, but you have to be connected to win on the road.” Playing for one another, passing the ball, and being on the same page.”
Usman Garuba’s suitability
The Warriors’ roster is a little older and smaller, so Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga may be the primary sources of athleticism in the frontcourt. But what about Usman Garuba, a two-way player?
The former first-round pick of the Rockets is 6-foot-8 and found himself on the outskirts of Houston’s lineup due to his inability to find a niche on offense. However, the 21-year-old profiles as a player who can find a role, and possibly some minutes, with the Warriors due to his defensive mobility and Draymond Green-like motor.
“He’s got a high motor,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “They both play so hard, and Usman has a good sense of who he is as a young player, and that’s a big part of succeeding in this league, having an identity and a game, awareness of what your job is, what your role is.” He has a good motor and a good feel, and I’m glad he’s here. He’s 21, and he was drafted in the first round for a reason. He’s a talented and no-nonsense individual.”