Stephen A. Smith changes stance on Warriors trading Andrew Wiggins

Stephen A. changes stance, doesn’t want Dubs to trade Wiggins originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins has won over ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith.

Less than two months after saying the Warriors should trade Wiggins because he was refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Stephen A. doesn’t want to see the former No. 1 overall draft pick dealt anywhere.

In recent days, Stephen A. has jumped on the Warriors’ bandwagon and has picked them to win the 2021-22 NBA title. During a conversation on ESPN’s «First Take» on Thursday, host Molly Qerim asked if Stephen A. had crowned the Warriors too soon.

ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins said, yes, Stephen A. has anointed the Warriors too soon, listing other teams in the Western Conference, who could challenge Golden State for the crown.

Stephen A. went over all the teams Perkins mentioned, including the Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers before explaining exactly why he was so confident in the Warriors, who entered Thursday’s game in Cleveland with an NBA-best 12-2 record.

«I got Stephen Curry, I got Klay [Thompson] coming back, I got Jordan Poole elevated his game,» Stephen A. said. «Andrew Wiggins is balling. Let’s give him some love. Once upon a time, I’d give him away for a box of cookies. I no longer feel that way. He’s corrected that and he’s been balling. I got Draymond Green suddenly hitting perimeter shots. I got [James] Wiseman and Klay coming back. I got Gary Payton II coming off the bench with Damion Lee coming off the bench, [Juan Toscano-Anderson] coming off the bench, I mean, are you kidding me?

«I got Steph Curry shooting 95 percent from the free-throw line, 40-plus percent from 3-point range, I got Jordan Poole hitting 93 percent from the free-throw line, we know he’s got a perimeter game as well. These brothers move without the basketball. They play together. Plus, they’re a top-three defensive team and they are exceptionally well-coached by Steve Kerr, Mike Brown and their coaching staff, I have every right to sit up there, even in November, and say ‘Yo, this team is going to the Finals.’ I have every right to do that.»

Wiggins eventually received the COVID-19 vaccine so that he could be in compliance with the city of San Francisco vaccine mandate for large indoor events. He was in jeopardy of not being able to play in any home games if he had remained unvaccinated.

Wiggins is proving to be a valuable part of the Warriors’ success this season. Through 14 games, he’s averaging 18.1 points per game on a career-high 48 percent shooting from the field. While Wiggins’ 3-point shooting has dipped a bit this season (35 percent) from last season (38 percent), his 55 Effective Field Goal Percentage is the highest of his career.

RELATED: Stephen A. crushes Kyrie, Steph MVP chants at Barclays

Ever since he dropped 35 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves, his former team, on Nov. 10, Wiggins has been more aggressive and confident. That’s the player the Warriors will need throughout the 2021-22 season if they hope to make good on Stephen A.’s proclamation that they will win the title in June.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast