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Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins ranks among NBA’s elite rejection specialists

Andrew Wiggins, Warriors

Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins may not be scoring as much as usual, but he’s making a big impact on the defensive end. Wiggins currently has a total of 20 blocks this season, ranking fifth-most in the league behind defensive big men Myles Turner, Rudy Gobert, Chris Boucher and Mitchell Robinson.

Wiggins displayed his defensive abilities in their most recent game against the Indiana Pacers. He blocked five shots on the night, including this impressive rejection of Malcolm Brogdon:

Unfortunately for the Warriors, Wiggins’ defensive contributions and 22 points weren’t enough to earn a victory over Indiana. The Pacers put forth a strong second-half effort to give the Dubs a 104-95 loss. Golden State dropped to 6-5 on the season.

This loss aside, Wiggins’ contributions on the defensive end are a pleasant surprise. Despite being an athletic marvel, Wiggins has never been known for his defensive prowess. His block and steal rates have never been all that high, with his previous career high in blocks sitting at 1.0 per game last season (he averaged 1.4 in 12 games with the Dubs). The 25-year-old is at 1.8 blocks per game so far this season, and while the sample size is small, this is still a great early sign for his defensive production.

Golden State needs Wiggins to continue playing at this level, especially with Klay Thompson out for the season once again. It certainly seems as if he’s finally enjoying himself after years of toiling with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Warriors will look to get back in the win column when they face the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.