SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Kerr's instructions for Andrew Wiggins before his first game with Golden State on Saturday night were simple and basic: Sprint the floor.
No requirements or rules about shots. Just hustle.
“I told him, ‘No matter what happens we need you to sprint the floor, both ways,’” Kerr said after Wiggins scored 24 points in his impressive Warriors debut Saturday night, a 125-120 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
James leaned on his supporting cast to carry the load until he heated up in the second half and finished with 22 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
Wiggins shot 8 for 12 with three 3-pointers and accounted for five the Warriors' 15 steals. Golden State acquired him from the Minnesota Timberwolves before Thursday's deadline in exchange for D'Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans III and Omari Spellman.
Kerr also appreciated having Wiggins to defend James “and at least match up physically.”
“It's the hardest position to guard these days in the NBA,” Kerr said.
Wiggins knew his job on night No. 1 was to “compete” and focus on playing fundamental basketball. Now, he is ready to embrace a new start out West with some sunny California weather and Stephen Curry as a cheerleader on the sideline as the two-time MVP works back from a broken left hand.
“I was like if it happens it happens, it's going to be a blessing either way,” Wiggins said. .".. This whole thing didn't really feel real until they announced my name."