Is Andrew Wiggins an all-star? No doubt in Warriors’ minds

There’s a growing movement within the Warriors locker room: Get Andrew Wiggins to Cleveland — for this February’s All-Star Game.

Stephen Curry, a sure shot to earn his eighth nod, pronounced his endorsement Saturday after the Warriors’ latest win, 123-116 at Utah, joining a growing list of teammates and coaches spouting a similar message: turn “two-way Wiggs” into “all-star Wiggs.”

“Not to get too ahead of myself, but No. 22 should be in Cleveland this year, the way he’s hooping,” Curry said after Wiggins dropped another 25 points, his fifth 20-point performance in his past eight games. “Wiggs has been so consistent all year, the way he’s played on both ends of the floor.”

Add Klay Thompson and Steve Kerr, just in the past two days.

“I think Wiggs deserves to be an all-star,” Kerr said before tipoff.

“I think he should be,” Thompson said, kicking off the campaign at practice Friday. “Especially with the way we’re playing this season. Without him we would not be where we’re at.”

The only thing able to stop Wiggins recently was a spell in health and safety protocols that cost him four games in the last two weeks. He returned as good as ever with outings of 21 and 25 in two games since coming back.

The destination, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on Feb. 20, would provide a chance for Wiggins’ career to come full circle. Cleveland was the team that drafted him first overall in 2014 then traded him to Minnesota, where he only showed flashes of the potential he has realized on both sides of the ball for the Warriors this season.

“I hear the buzz,” Wiggins said. “I’ve just got to keep striving forward. It it happens, then I’ll celebrate once it happens. But nothing’s promised. I’ve got to keep working.”

Alongside Steph Curry and a strong supporting cast, Wiggins has come into his own as an offensive player. The Warriors’ ball movement and spacing has helped him to a career-best rate from 3-point distance (43.4%), including 3.1 per game over his past 15 contests. His 19.0 points per game aren’t a career-high, but they’re coming more efficiently than ever, with the highest effective field goal percentage of his career (56.7%).

He is also assigned with the shutting down opponents’ top scoring threat, a role played in past seasons by Thompson, who is equally long and athletic with a defensive reputation to match. With Thompson out, it’s been Wiggins tasked with matching up against guards and wings but switching on to big men without being outmanned physically.

“He’s taken on the role defensively that is just crucial to our team with Klay out,” Kerr said. “He’s guarding the most difficult player on the court every single night at the other end. … I think he’s one of the best two-way players in the league.”

There are 12 Western Conference all-star spots available. The starting five is decided by fan vote (open until Jan. 22), while coaches will decide the seven reserves.

Consider the Warriors’ top two bets: Curry (27.7 points per game), who is mounting an MVP campaign; and Draymond Green (8.4 points/7.9 rebounds/7.5 assists), whose resurgent play is generating defensive player of the year buzz. Is there room for a third Golden State representative?

The Warriors went four seasons, from 2016 to 2019, without having fewer than three players selected.

On top of the Western Conference with a 28-7 record, Kerr believes success should count for something.

“I also believe the all-star game should be about wins,” Kerr said. “Anytime there are players that are close together in the voting, I think being on a winning team should count for something.”

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