Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins makes Warriors' new lineup work

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Why Draymond believes Wiggins makes new Death Lineup work originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors' new unnamed Death Lineup has gotten all the publicity during the first two games of their first-round series with the Denver Nuggets.

Rightfully so. That lineup has an offensive rating of 204.3 and a defensive rating of 75.0 in 11 minutes and has changed the tenor of each of the first two games.

Jordan Poole has been electric, Draymond Green has conducted the offense flawlessly, and Steph Curry is Steph Curry. But Green believes it's the fifth member of that unit, Andrew Wiggins, that makes it go.

“Andrew Wiggins was attacking the basket which is great," Green said on the latest episode of "The Draymond Green Show." "I think back to Joe Dumars. He’s like a father figure of mine and we always used to talk about NBA basketball. He would always say, ‘Draymond, on your team, you always have to have a guy that’s a fencer-bender. Someone who is going to bend that fencer over and over again.’ I thought that’s what Wiggins has been these first couple games. He’s been a fencer-bender. Where he’s just bending the fence back, bending the fence back, and once he bends the fence back, then everyone else can come in and you can work behind the play. That’s when everything else starts to open up."

During the first two games of the series, Wiggins is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the field. The Warriors are plus-40 with Wiggins on the court in the series.

To Green, it's Wiggins' aggressiveness, mindset, and willingness to hit the glass that makes the new Death Lineup able to function at such a high level.

“The way Wiggs has been attacking the basket has been incredible, but also, the way Wiggins has been rebounding – and no one is really talking about that – but that’s what really allows that newer version of the Death Lineup to really work. You know, if I’m battling with Joker, which is a tall task, and I’m trying to keep him off the board, it’s very hard for me to then go get that rebound. With Wiggins coming back in and rebounding and Klay Thompson coming back in and rebounding – I think Jordan Poole had four or five rebounds [in Game 2] and we all know Steph Curry is a great rebounder.

"That is very important for the small lineup working. I thought Wiggins has been incredible with his attacks on the rim, he’s been incredible on the defensive end. Wiggins has been locked in like I’ve never seen Wiggins locked in before. When I say that, I just mean gameplan, discipline, in the fray, rebounding the basketball, it has been beautiful to see the way he’s stepping up to the challenge, doing all of the little things. It has been beautiful to see.”

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This new lineup was built to carve teams up on offense, but it's the defense that has changed the flow of both games and sparked big second-quarter runs for the Warriors.

“We swarmed,” Green said after Game 2. “There were a couple loose balls that we could have come up with and we didn't come up with, and that's one of the things we spoke about with that lineup. We should be able to get deflections, and when we get deflections, we have to push the ball and try to make them keep up with that pace.”

In Game 1, Kerr called in the dragons with 4:23 remaining in the half. An 18-6 run ensued. The lineup entered with 6:02 left in the second quarter of Game 2 and went on a 22-8 run while holding Denver to 3-of-13 shooting.

Wiggins' on-ball defense and rebounding to close out defensive possessions have been huge.

Entering the postseason, Wiggins was one of the big question marks for a Warriors team that was a complete wild-card.

Golden State needed locked-in and aggressive Wiggins to have a real title shot. It's only been two games, but so far, so good. Wiggins has done everything the Warriors have asked, and he's been the key to the most lethal lineup in basketball.

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