SAN FRANCISCO – Andrew Wiggins: All-Star starter.
Wiggins never earned that description when he was with the Timberwolves but in his second full season with Golden State, Wiggins earned that distinction as the NBA announced its starters for the All-Star game on Thursday.
Fan voting helped propel Wiggins to a spot in the starting lineup. According to the NBA, Wiggins ranked third in fan voting among frontcourt players, which helped him beat out teammate Draymond Green and Clippers forward Paul George for the third frontcourt spot along with the Lakers' LeBron James and Denver's Nikola Jokic. Fan voting accounts for 50% of the overall total for a starting All-Star spot. Player and media voting each make up 25%. Wiggins finished fifth among player voting and sixth among media.
"One of the proudest moments I've had as a coach, just to see what Wiggs has done," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "The journey he's traveled has been rocky at times and to see how hard he's worked and to see that work rewarded, I just could not be any happier for him."
Wiggins has become one of the most important defensive players on the Warriors. Kerr said the team made the trade with the Wolves for D'Angelo Russell and a first-round pick because they needed athleticism and size on the wings following the departure of Kevin Durant and Shaun Livingston.
Wiggins has regularly guarded the opponent's top perimeter player since joining the team.
"We just felt like he was still a young player and could fit into our system with time," Kerr said. "That he would learn how to play with Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson] and adapt to some of the things we did and then add some things that we didn't have — his ability to get downhill, get to the rim. We needed that, too. It just seemed like a really good fit and it's proven to be that."
Wiggins is averaging 18.1 points and shooting a career-high 40% from three-point range. Kerr said the organization was "glowing" after learning Wiggins would start alongside Curry in the All-Star game.
"Just the way he carries himself every day, he's just a wonderful guy," Kerr said. "He deserves this and we're all thrilled for him."
Getting Beasley back on track
During a radio appearance Wednesday on KFAN, coach Chris Finch said one thing near the top of his agenda is to get guard Malik Beasley back on track. After shooting 40% from three-point range last season, Beasley has been more inconsistent this season at 35%.
"I need to call his number more." Finch said at shootaround Thursday. "Run some more set plays for him. Try to find some more ideal matchups within the game."
Finch also mentioned the team is working with Beasley to get more lift on his shot.
"It's just a little flatter than it has been," Finch said. "And we've been trying to emphasize getting a better arc."
Guard Patrick Beverley missed his third consecutive game because of a right ankle injury. Guard Jaylen Nowell, who was questionable entering the game because of a sacrum contusion (lower-back injury), was in the lineup. Nowell fell hard and landed on his tailbone in Tuesday's game against Portland.