Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Andrew Wiggins is a “better positional fit” for the franchise than D’Angelo Russell.
Russell was acquired by the Warriors in a sign-and-trade with the Nets in July following Kevin Durant’s departure to Brooklyn as a free agent. Golden State then dealt the guard to the Timberwolves prior to Thursday’s trade deadline.
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In return, the Warriors acquired Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick, who is expected to eventually complement All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
“We know that Andrew is a better positional fit for us than what D’Angelo was, just given that Steph and Klay will be back by next season — hopefully before then, in Steph’s case,” Kerr said. “So he’s a good positional fit, athletically — now it’s a matter of catching Andrew up to speed with what we like to do here and really trying to make an impact on him regarding our process and how we like to do our business and how we can help him get better and how he can help our team get better.
“That’s going to be what these next couple months are about from a team process, along with helping grow and develop the younger players.”
Kerr added: “To be perfectly blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed [Russell]. Nobody questioned that.
“When you already have Steph and Klay and you add a ball-dominant guard, you can rightfully question the fit. That was one of those reasons the trade rumors started before the season even began, and I think D’Angelo understood that before he signed the contract.”
This season, Wiggins has been averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
As for Russell, he has landed with his fourth team in his fifth NBA season. The All-Star will now team up with friend Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota.
“I’ve been seeing from a distance, and from close up, the ship that Karl’s kind of been driving around here for years,” Russell said Friday. “Players come and go from here. I take it they didn’t appreciate the situation here or whatever that may be, but watching from a distance I knew I could help Karl. I’ve never played with a dynamic big just like him.”
Russell has been averaging 23.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in 2019-20.